History of the Edward Steidle Building

The story of the Edward Steidle building on the Penn State campus has always been one of transition. It’s very existence was the result of a paradigm shift, envisioned by it’s namesake, former dean of the College of Mineral Industries, Edward Steidle.

“To Meet an Industrial Need”

Edward Steidle (class of 1911), was hired in 1928 by president Hetzel in to reorganize the college of Mines and Metallurgy as he had done previously for the Carnegie Institute of Technology. Steidle set to the task by changing the name of the school to Mineral Industries, to better reflect his vision of a more expansive school that would expand far beyond mining. A new school required a new building with updated labs and facilities. Lured to the position with the promise of a new building to house his expanded vision, the Mineral Industries building was completed in 1929, just a year after Mr. Steidle’s appointment.

Klauder’s Vision

Built during a massive expansion under the leadership of university president Ralph Hetzel, architect Charles Z. Klauder was commissioned to design the building. Klauder had been selected earlier by president Sparks to develop a new master plan for the campus which was completed in 1914. The plan was modeled in the “Beaux-Arts” style, hallmarks of which include neoclassical design, strong use of geometry and symmetry, and an organizing scheme in which buildings are oriented around common areas such as courtyards and malls, rather than paths and roads.

Klauder, who designed many iconic early Penn State buildings such as Sackett and Henderson Buildings, the Nittany Lion Inn, and the “new” Old Main, envisioned for Steidle Building a portico topped by a rotunda - the first such building on campus to feature this unique architectural attribute. Built facing the new residence halls of Irvin, Watts, and Jordan, the plan included an expansive mall between Steidle and these halls so that an unobstructed view of and from the portico could be achieved.

Completed in 1929, the building was the last of the post-war, pre-depression boom that shaped the iconic campus we enjoy today.

As the school of Mineral Industries became the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, expanded facilities were required to house the college’s museum, art gallery, and need for additional lab space. In 1940 an addition was added to the central courtyard, which now houses additional lab space.

As the department of Materials Science and Engineering grew within the College of Earth and Mineral Science, Steidle building became entirely the domain of MatSE. Though a patchwork of infrastructure enhancements through the years have kept the department going, a major renovation has not been done since the 40’s. In order to offer modern facilities, technology, and to reflect the shift towards interdisciplinary education within the department, a re-invention of the building has become necessary.

In order to achieve the goals of the renovation, EYP Architecture & Engineering has envisioned a plan that will retain the character of the current building, while completely re-imagining the interior structure.