The English-Philosophy Building, known on campus as EPB, has been home to these two humanities departments and the Department of Linguistics since its construction, and to the Department of Rhetoric since 1970. Begun under President Virgil M. Hancher (1940–1964) and completed under President Howard R. Bowen (1964–1969), EPB was one of many building projects on campus that exhibit a new desire to pursue architecture of current note and merit. Nationally renowned architects took part in a campus building boom, particularly during the Bowen years, and EPB has the distinction of being the first fruit of the University’s look beyond the state for high-quality design.
Notwithstanding its unmistakable Modernist aesthetic of standardized forms, the strong vertical articulation of EPB’s river façade conveys intimations of Classicism that reverberate with the Doric-columned portico of Old Capitol located above it on the distant bluff. The rigor of the design—note the symmetry and uniform rectilinear geometry—are characteristically Modernist but employed to invite associations with the buildings of the Pentacrest. Alternating brick and precast concrete elements create a façade of light and dark components, with the vertical stacking of the paired windows suggesting column shafts. The building’s horizontal platform and cornice line also gesture at classical forms. After the design phase of EPB was completed, President Bowen asked that the building be rotated to maximize the river views from the faculty office wing. Interestingly, the building faces the river but does not engage it, with no pedestrian access on the west side of the building, so that the abstract purity of the Modernist framework remains undisturbed.
The building is accessible to persons with disabilities.