Brandt Hall




Luther College

Building Name

Brandt Hall

Year Built


Architectural Style

Collegiate Gothic

The Korsrud Heating Plant (1947) and Brandt Hall (1949) are distinctive on the Luther campus because of their pitched, red-clay-tile roofs. Local architect Roger Olson, a member of the Altfillisch firm, told Professor Emeritus Wilfred Bunge in the 2000s that these buildings were the work of one of the firm’s young architects, but although one newspaper article refers to Lockard as the “architect in charge” of Brandt, the researcher preparing materials for the 2020 NRHP nomination could find no record of his work in the Luther College archives, and, instead, found many references to Altfillisch as the architect of record. A May 28, 1947 Decorah Public Opinion article says the following:  “Plans of Luther College’s new dormitory for women, designed by Charles Altfillisch, local architect, was featured in the March issue of College and University Business, a national magazine published at Chicago.”

Originally a women’s dormitory, Brandt Hall is named after Diderikke Brandt, whose spouse was Nils Brandt, the first campus pastor. Diderikke Brandt had acted as “mother and counselor to the students, and, in general, the hostess of the college community” during the 1860s into the 1880s. Prior to Brandt Hall’s construction, female students lived in Larsen Hall and houses on campus. Women and men now share Brandt Hall. Designed by Decorah architect Charles Altfillisch and built by local contractor A.R. Coffeen, the center and west wing of this essentially U-shaped dormitory were constructed in 1949 but the planned east wing was delayed by the construction of Main III (#16, 1952). The east wing was then added in 1957 or 1958 (sources differ). The contractor for the east wing was the Johnson Construction Co. of Winona, Minnesota. Fire-escape stairs in an enclosed brick shaft were added to the north end of each wing in the 1980s (1988 for the west wing; east wing date unknown but presumed to be about the same time; mandated by the state department of public safety). The multi-story building is built of steel, red brick laid with white mortar, and light gray concrete trim. It has a clay tile roof with dormers. Dorm room windows are three-part Chicago style resulting in ample daylight inside. Several walls are devoted almost entirely to glazing, especially in the center section which houses study and social lounges. The front or south end wall of the wings have multi-story bay windows which also illuminate smaller interior study areas. The interior has seen redecoration projects in 1980 and 1981.

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