Dillard University is a historically black institute, with a legacy of providing educational opportunities to disadvantaged students. In response to significant growth in enrollment, enhanced educational offerings and increased public identity, the school identified the need for a new academic building. The University held an invited competition and subsequently commissioned the firm. Our winning design reflects a building that is clearly modern in spirit, but acknowledges important campus precedents in terms of scale, siting and materials. Forming the edge of an open quadrangle, the building is two stories high, complementing the scale of other buildings on campus. The building’s façade is composed of painted white brick and glass, echoing the existing campus aesthetic, while contributing a more modern feel. Its large portico refers back to the shaded entry porches of the traditional campus buildings and provides a sheltered outdoor space. DUICEF is organized into two flexible blocks containing classrooms, a computer lab, large assembly rooms and offices. The blocks are linked by an open glazed lobby, corridor and lounge which provide places for students to meet informally and offer magnificent views of the campus. Following the devastation resulting from Hurricane Katrina, the firm completed pro bono work to help restore the building to its previous state.