Celebrating a Centennial: Shining Light on the Historic Hampton Hall

University of Pittsburgh undergraduate intern Jennifer Kandray (senior architecture studies major) atop Hampton Hall’s roof garden.


Celebrating a Centennial: Shining Light on the Historic Hampton Hall

Jennifer Kandray, Museum Studies Intern at Hampton Hall – Fall 2021

As the Hampton Hall Condominiums in North Oakland approaches its centennial anniversary marking the breaking of ground for the rich structure, architect David (Chip) Schwing wanted to commemorate the authenticity of the building by doing something special. As a recent arrival to the building, Schwing was instantly drawn to the building’s architecture and history. Built in 1928 by Herman Kamin, Hampton Hall was designed by architect H.G. Hodgkins to offer exquisite apartment style housing to the upper classes of Oakland. Since its completion, Hampton Hall has undergone modern renovation while careful planning has allowed for the building to retain its historic features. While the staff entrances to the units are less commonly used by the now condominium owners, the structure has not lost any of its charm.

Within the internship position working with Hampton Hall, I exposed myself to many learning opportunities ranging from photography to a new style of writing. While these tasks were a bit daunting at first, seeing the finished product through the completion of the Historic Research Survey Form opens my eyes to see just how much I have learned and grown in the past semester, making me realize that I have added to the long history of Hampton Hall.

When I first saw Hampton Hall, its historical significance was obvious. From the techniques used while laying the brick at the construction of the structure to the tiles that add color to the façade of the exterior, there are few buildings that replicate the extraordinary details of Hampton Hall. Past the bears guarding through the statement doors on the inside, the original elevator gates still operate, and the leaded stained-glass and wall lamps provide light to see the dark tiles on the floor. To the observant viewer, the light occasionally gives the opportunity to see a woodland creature or flower carved into the tile itself, shining light onto the small details of only the lobby. Learning the biographical details of the building’s architect and builder alongside the history of Hampton Hall made me realize how much work had been put into the intricate design of this building.

Reconstructing the building’s history of renovations through newspaper sources makes me sure that the building will continue to evolve – but the opportunity to work with current residents committed to preserving its historical features confirms that the future of Hampton Hall is in good hands.

  • Academic Interns
  • Undergraduate Work
  • Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh