Natural Resources Building - Architecture

front view of the Natural Resources building

The Natural Resources building displays a steeply pitched slate roof with narrow eaves, a row of dormers on all sides, and several pairs of tall brick chimney stacks topped with chimney pots. The building is three and four stories and constructed of rectangular structural block and brick exterior walls. The four-story centerpiece, composed of three sections, projects slightly forward. It is flanked by a recessed, three-story pavilion and projecting, four-story wing at each end. A band of light gray limestone in the exterior wall divides the first and second floors. The outside walls are faced with a Flemish bond pattern of red brick from the Danville area. The spacing of entries, windows and other elements is regular and symmetrical.

Architect Joseph Button successfully adapted the architectural style of the Georgian manor house to the institutional scale of the Natural Resources Building in 1939. The original centerpiece was completed in 1942 and the wings were added in 1950. Despite its block-long, four-story dimensions and the plainness of its basic lines and shapes, the building avoids the monotonous appearance of a box or barracks. Trimmed openings divide and lighten the large roof and wall surfaces. The earthy, low-key colors of the slate, brick, and limestone trim create division and detail. The effect is one of imposing stability and balance.