Georgia Tech Archives

From the Naval Armory to the state-of-the-art Caddell Building

By 1952, the School of Architecture (it became the College of Architecture in 1975) was already well established at Georgia Tech. After World War II, the student population soared and the School got a new building and a professionally-oriented curriculum in order to keep up with demand. Designed by the director of the School, Harold Bush-Brown and other leading faculty (including future director Paul M. .Heffernan) this new building signaled a new identity for architectural education at Georgia Tech.

A short distance away from the School of Architecture building, plans for a Naval Armory on Georgia Tech's campus were taking shape. (ROTC was once compulsory for Georgia Tech Freshmen and Sophomores, and although now an elective, is still a visible part of Georgia Tech's campus culture.)

The School of Architecture continued to expand its range of disciplines in the 1950s, establishing the Building Construction program -- which offered a Bachelor of Science degree -- in 1958. Classes were taught in the basement of the new Architecture building. 

Who would have thought this tiny program would eventually take over the entire Armory building?

Development and change

The rise of Atlanta, the growth of the construction industry and the development of complex technology in building systems and materials had profound effects on Georgia Tech's Building Construction program. Initially, Georgia Tech's academic mission -- and that of the Architecture department -- focused on local concerns in Atlanta and the rest of the South.

But as enrollment increased across the Georgia Tech, which was becoming a nationally recognized research university, the School of Architecture's disciplines continued to grow in size, scope and importance. The School of Architecture became the College of Architecture in 1975. A major addition to the building (now called "West Architecture") was completed in 1980. The College's first PhD program was established in 1982 and with it a signature focus on research began.

The Building Construction program played a major role in these new research initiatives. In 1986 the College of Architecture established the Construction Research Center, the first of its kind in the United States. The Building Construction program received ACCE accreditation in 1999 and the Master of Science degree  in Building Construction and Facility Management was approved by the Board of Regents in 2000.

Recent History

The Building and Construction industry continued to rapidly develop and change in the new millennium. Georgia Tech recognized the need for an even more professionally oriented Building Construction program, transforming the curriculum to graduate level study only. The graduate program now has four distinct tracks: Integrated Facility and Property Management, Integrated Project Delivery Systems, Residential Construction Development, and Program Management. Students were now conducting research and earning an advanced degree in these disciplines.

In 2009, Building Construction was elevated to School status and was proudly renamed “The School of Building Construction.” The Doctor of Philosophy with a Major in Building Construction was approved by the Board of Regents in 2011, becoming the first doctoral program of its kind in the U.S. -- something our program has a knack for.

Now and Future

In place of the circa 1952 Naval Armory is now a state of the art facility -- The John and Joyce Caddell Building -- which is the home of the School of Building Construction and an ambitious example of adaptive reuse. Our new LEED platinum certified building offers students access to real-time sustainability performance information. Strong industry relationships and a focus on grooming C-level leadership is a due in no small part to this dedicated space for research, collaboration, teaching, and learning.

The vision of the School of Building Construction is to be a global leader of research and education in the development, construction, and management of the built environment. Join us on this journey!