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Northwestern University

The Black House

Project Description

In 1968, NU students occupied the Bursar’s office to protest the campus experience for black students. Many of their demands were met by the administration—including a place to call their own. Thus, the house at 1914 Sheridan Road was officially designated by the University as the location for the Department of Afro-American Student Affairs, and also became a gathering place for black students. Effectively, it was more than just a house; it was a symbol of solidarity and “the fight for equity and justice on campus.”

Project Stats


Evanston, IL

Year Completed


Project Gallery

Design Features

In 2016, Moody Nolan was retained to facilitate the Black House Feasibility Study in 2016, and ultimately, the execution of the building’s restoration. Moody Nolan conducted a series of student, faculty, and alumni engagement sessions. The decision was made to maintain the function of the Black House as a hub/gathering space for Black students, and renovate its infrastructure so as to provide a more efficient place for students to spend time.

The three-story house features Victorian detail work complete with ornate trim, fish scale shingles, French doors, balustrade porch/stairway, rounded corner tower with a witch’s hat turret and final, high-peaked gables, and a large Northern stained-glass window. A new addition will be constructed to house a new elevator and exit stair and gathering area at the back porch.

The interior architecture incorporates new programmatic uses into the historic home. The existing main central stair will be opened on the 2nd and 3rd floors restoring the once grand entrance that serves as the main conduit through the house. On the main level, a visitor welcome station will continue the warm inviting nature of the Black house that resonates with many visitors daily.