Saint Austin’s House (now Riley Hall) was built in 1961 for Nazareth Hall Preparatory Seminary in response to its expanding student population. It is located south of the original Nazareth Hall building.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul commissioned the design from the St. Paul architectural firm of Voigt and Fourre. The architects prepared detailed plans, dated between July and October 1960. Ground clearing began in June 1960, and the cornerstone was laid in October of the same year. Completed in time for the fall 1961 term, Saint Austin’s House was dedicated by Archbishop William O. Brady on October 11, 1961.
In many ways, Saint Austin’s House both echoes and complements the original. It uses similar construction methods and materials, reinforced concrete faced with tapestry brick and carved limestone details. Like the main building, Saint Austin’s House has a complex plan that encompassed a variety of uses and functions.
When Northwestern took over the campus, the building was renamed Riley Hall in honor of the institution’s first president, Dr. William Bell Riley. As Northwestern’s enrollment has continued to increase, further changes have been made to Riley Hall in the last 20 years to adapt existing spaces for current use.