Storrs Building considered an architectural textbook

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Thomas I. Storrs Building resulted from the collaboration between Charlotte architectural firm Ferebee, Walters and Associates and New York architects Charles Gwaltmey and Robert Siegel.

Since its completion in 1990, Storrs Building has been used as an “architectural education instrument,” because students and professionals can study its many unique features, as the building is considered a virtual textbook for use of materials and systems. This 87,000-square-foot facility features a complex roof design, natural and artificial lighting systems, double helix stairs and exposure of structural and environmental systems. Home to the School of Architecture in the College of Arts + Architecture, Storrs Building is appropriately named for an individual who dedicated himself to helping build the University.

Storrs, born in 1918, dropped out of high school during the Great Depression. At the age of 15, he began work as a clerk at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Va. He would later resume his formal education, enrolling in the University of Virginia, where he completed undergraduate studies. He earned a master’s degree and doctorate in economics from Harvard University.

Originally from Nashville, Tenn., Storrs joined the-then North Carolina National Bank in 1960 as executive vice president. He would later serve as one of the architects who laid the foundation for NCNB to emerge as NationsBank (now Bank of America). Following the retirement of Addison Reese, Storrs became chair and CEO, and he would follow his predecessor’s example as a member of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees for nearly 12 years – the last four years as chair. His civic involvement included serving as president of the Business Foundation of North Carolina, vice president of the North Carolina Engineering Foundation and director of the North Carolina Textile Foundation. In 1990, he was inducted in the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame.

A recipient of the UNC Charlotte Distinguished Service Award, Storrs also has a scholarship in his name at the University of Virginia.

Formal groundbreaking for the $7.5 million Storrs Building was held Aug. 26, 1988. Dedication of the building was Oct. 29, 1990, and a ceremony to name the facility in honor of Storrs was held Sept. 16, 1992.

Atkins Library Special Collections contributed to this article.