Published on March 6, 2013  
Brock Recital Hall interior

Brock Recital Hall at Samford University has received the prestigious Shutze Award for excellence in classical design presented by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA). Neil Davis of Birmingham-based Davis Architects, who was principal designer of the project, accepted the award at ICAA’s 7th Annual Awards dinner in Atlanta on February 23rd.

Named after the renowned architect Phillip Trammell Shutze, perhaps best known for his design of the Swan House in Atlanta, the Shutze Awards spotlight exceptional architectural and interior design achievements inspired by classical design principles, proportions and motifs.

Evidence of such classical inspiration is found everywhere one turns at Brock Recital Hall, from the bowed exterior façade with Palladian windows, to the cherry-paneled lobby patterned after an English long gallery, to the intimate 333-seat interior conceived as a Doric temple turned inside out. The design of the interior performance space draws inspiration from the Odeon of Agrippa, an ancient concert hall.

“Jane Hollock Brock Recital Hall is a jewel – one of the most beautiful and popular performance venues on the Samford campus, and one of the finest in the Southeast,” said Joseph Hopkins, Dean of Samford’s School of the Arts. “Audience members are not only stunned by the remarkable classical design that they see when they walk into the hall,” he said, “they are delighted by the exceptional performance that they hear, thanks to sophisticated acoustical details designed by the architects.”

“For example, Davis Architects’ design enables us to ‘tune the hall’ differently for a solo performer, an intimate chamber music group or a big jazz band – to produce the very best sound possible for each type of performance,” Dr. Hopkins explained. “It is an exquisite space in which to present exceptional arts.”

As Samford University President Andrew Westmoreland noted, “Davis Architects created the original master plan for the Samford Campus in the 1950s, when Howard College’s move from East Lake to Homewood was being planned, and Neil’s father was the principal architect of the firm and of that master plan.” (Howard College became Samford University in 1965.)

“We are not surprised by the accolades that Neil Davis and his firm continue to receive today, as they help us stay true to the original Georgian style inspired by classical antiquity. We also appreciate their ability to produce buildings that are thoroughly modern in every technical sense,” the Samford president added.

“We congratulate Davis Architects on the well-deserved Shutze Award,” Dr. Westmoreland said, “and we thank them for the wonderful relationship that Samford has enjoyed with the firm for the past six decades.”

Coordinated by ICAA’s Southeast Chapter, the 2013 Shutze Awards design competition attracted more than 50 submissions from 35 different organizations, individuals and firms across the Southeast. Only 10 awards were presented, including the recognition to Davis Architects for classical design excellence in the commercial/civic/institutional category.

Now celebrating its 101st year, Davis Architects is Alabama’s oldest architectural firm in continuous practice. Since 1912, the firm has created award winning architectural and interior designs for schools, churches, colleges and universities, libraries, multi-family and mixed-use projects, as well as performance venues for music, theatre and athletic events. The firm also sponsors The Davis Architects Guest Artist Series at Samford.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.