Cowgill Hall houses the School of Architecture + Design administrative offices, as well as the College of Architecture and Urban Studies Dean’s offices. In addition, it provides space for faculty offices, classrooms, and undergraduate and graduate architecture studios.
The lobby of Cowgill Hall serves as the school’s principal exhibition space. Literature resources are also housed on the ground floor of Cowgill Hall in the Art and Architecture Library, a branch of the University’s Newman Library. Shop facilities, located adjacent to the building, provide woodworking and metalworking equipment; a ceramic workshop allows creative and analytical work with clay and plaster; a graphics workshop includes equipment for etching, embossing, and serigraphy; and there are five darkrooms plus film, video, and other photographic facilities.
Outside on the southern side of the building is Cowgill Plaza, a popular meeting place. It features four pyramidal skylights that provide natural light for Burchard Hall, which was built underneath the plaza.
Construction began in 1966 on Cowgill Hall to house academics and administrative offices of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. Completed in 1969, the building was the first major departure on campus from the traditional Collegiate Gothic architecture employed since the early 1900s. It is also the first building constructed expressly for architecture use.
It was briefly occupied in 1970 by student protesters.