Hub, Gainesville, FL
Also known as Student Services Building. The Hub, built in 1950 as the Student Services Center and renamed by the students shortly thereafter, is significant at the local and statewide levels under Criterion C in the area of Architecture for its architectural style, which reflects International Modernism in contrast to the Collegiate Gothic style of the older buildings on the University of Florida campus. It was built with student funds and served multiple functions as a center for recreation, dining, social activities, and banking, and as the campus post office. Designed by UF graduate Andrew Ferandino, it was an informal gathering place for students in the center of campus and is significant under Criterion A in the area of Education as it represents the university’s more progressive, modern approach to providing recreational and social facilities to an increasingly diverse student body, which now consisted of single men and women as well as married students. The Hub is nominated under the cover of the Multiple Property Submission for University of Florida Campus Historic Resources, Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida, under Context III. The Post-World War II Campus, 1945-1956.
The Florida Union, the first student center on the University of Florida campus, was built in 1936 in the Collegiate Gothic style. Fund-raising for this building was spearheaded by orator William Jennings Bryan, with major contributions from the YMCA. This building is now Dauer Hall (named for political science professor, Manning Dauer), which is used for classrooms and faculty offices, although part of the building formerly used as a dining hall was renovated in 1998 to provide a social space for faculty events (Keene Faculty Center). The influx of students following World War II created unprecedented demand for more academic and administrative space as well as student housing, but the social needs of the student body were not neglected. Designated as the Student Service Center when it opened in 1950, it was renamed “The Hub” after a campus-wide contest. In order to encourage students to engage in wholesome, on-campus activities, the Hub was originally designed with a soda fountain, a ballroom and projection room. Students could mail letters, pay fees, cash checks, pick up dry cleaning, buy a meal, and meet their friends for a light meal at this central location. 1 The J. Wayne Reitz Union replaced some of the functions of The Hub in 1967 when that new facility opened as the largest student union in the South.
The Hub, designed by Andrew Ferendino, a graduate of the University of Florida, is the only building of its kind on the campus, built in the International Moderne style with elements of Art Deco. Ferendino was a member of a Miami architectural firm of Pancoast and Associates, headed by another UF graduate, Russell Pancoast. The firm was well known for its Moderne and Art Deco-style buildings in south Florida. The Hub design was primarily the concept of the project architect Ferendino, with Jefferson M. Hamilton as consulting architect for the University and Guy C. Fulton as Architect for the State Board of Control. The architecture captured the spirit of the times, the modernist aesthetic that was expressed throughout the state in new shopping centers, hotels, and suburban housing in the 1950s.
The design featured a sweeping curved covered walkway that linked the geometric composition of the rectilinear west arm and circular east end. The generous fenestration emphasized the architectural form and connected the large interior spaces to the campus. The architecture reflected new international modern ideas while linking with the early campus through continuity of materials, scale, and height.
Built without state tax dollars, this facility for student services was funded by student activity fees. The streamlined look of the Hub with its sweeping curves, horizontal lines, and jazzy angles appealed to the students, who made it a Mecca for their social activities.
Following prevailing standards for preservation and sustainability, the building was rehabilitated in 2006, restoring open spaces that had been obscured over the decades, preserving significant elements, and incorporating compatible new features. The Hub is now the home for international student services and academic technology, providing student services appropriate to a new era for the campus.