Sir Christopher Wren Building

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Sir Christopher Wren Building

Williamsburg, Virginia
State/province: Virginia
Country: United States
Year built: 1695-1700
Primary Style: Colonial Revival
Additions: In 1732 construction of the Chapel, or south wing, was finished.
Major Alterations: Significant Alterations
Historic Function: College/university
Historic Function: Hospital, Capitol
Other Historic Function: Hospital, Capitol
Current Function: College/university
Architect or source of design: Tradition has it that the building was designed by the famed English architect Sir Christopher Wren.
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
First Owner: College of William and Mary
Notes: Thomas Jefferson


Sir Christopher Wren Building
(37.27082195686569° N, 76.70901238915576° WLatitude: 37°16′14.959″N
Longitude: 76°42′32.445″W

Generally referred to simply as the Wren Building or College Building, The Sir Christopher Wren Building at the College of William and Mary in Virginia is the oldest college building in the United States still in use. It was constructed between 1695 and 1700, before Williamsburg was founded, when the capital of the colony of Virginia was still located at Jamestown. Tradition has it that the building was designed by the famed English architect Sir Christopher Wren who designed St. Paul's Cathedral in London.[1]



The Wren Building has been gutted by fire three times: in 1705, 1859 and 1862. Each time the interior of the building was reconstructed inside the original walls, and for more than three centuries, it has been "the soul of the College." The Wren Building is joined in the Wren Yard by the Brafferton and the President's House. Together the three oldest buildings at the College of William and Mary form the Historic Campus. In the building, generations of William and Mary students have attended classes and lectures, enjoyed meals and attended chapel services. Classes are still held in the Wren Building, which also is home to the offices of the faculty of the department of religious studies. The northern wing holds the Great Hall and the southern wing holds the Chapel. Both rooms are often open to the public and are still used for various functions.[2]

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