The Impact of "Wild Bill" Hajjar at Penn State

Imagine the excitement of moving to a new area.  Well, to be honest some folks dislike relocating, but I have always tried to maintain the view that any new place has opportunities for exploration.  Since relocating, I've noticed several cool modern homes and buildings in State College, Pennsylvania, which, if you did not already realize, is home to the main campus for The Pennsylvania State University, more commonly known as Penn State.

The architecture in central Pennsylvania appears to be influenced predominately by Victorian, colonial, and traditional styles.  Nevertheless, as with many college towns, university architecture departments tend to influence a smattering of eclectic styles within their respective areas.

Recently, I stopped at a very cool mid-century modern home near the school my son attends and spoke with the owner about the architect.  Apparently, the home in question was designed by a former professor of architecture named A. William Hajjar.  Having only heard the name phonetically from the owner, my early searches led nowhere, until I explored Penn State's own websites.  I learned that Mr. Hajjar, also known as "Wild Bill," was "(t)he youngest of a large immigrant Lebanese family."  He earned "his bachelor's degree in architecture from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University)."  Later he studied at MIT earning a masters in the early '40s.

"There his pals were Vincent Kling, noted Philadelphia architect, and internationally known architect I. M. Pei, who is best known to the public for his design of the glass pyramid entrance to The Louvre in Paris. The guiding light in Boston of the period was Walter Gropius, the founder of the pre-World War II Bauhas institute in Germany and a leader in the creation of the International Style in architecture, otherwise known as "the glass box."  Unfortunately, Mr. Hajjar passed away in late 2000 due to a terminal illness.

Since the Penn State library website does such an excellent job of keeping Mr. Hajjar's legacy open to new generations, I will not delve into his history in this post.   I urge readers to visit the following site to learn more about this remarkable architect who undoubtedly left his modern mark on State College as well as Penn State: https://secureapps.libraries.psu.edu/content/hajjar/heritage/data/hajjar_biography.html.


  1. Modernesia:

    Welcome to Centre County and thanks for giving our Hajjar site some publicity. Please contact me as we have some other local architecture ventures in the works.

    Tim AumAn

  2. Tim, thanks for the info! I will definitely contact you.