The University of Texas

Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering (a.k.a. Industrial Chemistry) shared space within the Chemistry Department until it split off to become a department within the College of Engineering in 1938.

The Shacks

C Hall
C Hall, the Freshman Laboratory

Temporary buildings called shacks were a way of life on the UT campus during the first half of the 20th century. These primitive structures were built of wood and tarpaper, and dotted many of the still-open areas of the Forty Acres. They were used for many purposes: housing, classrooms, cafeterias, gyms, and as a convenient way to move malodorous laboratories out of the permanent, multi-use buildings. The first phase of "shackitecture" began in 1911, and ended in 1935, when the last of the original shacks was torn down. Then World War II, and the exploding student population afterwards, ushered in another era of these homely firetraps, which were typically known only by letters of the alphabet.

The Chemistry Department made use of various shacks over the years. One of the first, C Hall, was built in 1911 and used for the freshman chemistry laboratory. The "Tin Shack," or E Hall, which stood on 24th Street just north of the Old Chem Lab, housed the chemical engineering laboratory. The last chemical shack was Dr. Schoch's shed next to the Chemical Engineering Building on Speedway (now the Schoch Building), in which research on acetylene conversion was carried out.

The Shacks served their purpose, but no one was sorry to see them go in the building boom of the 1950s and 60s. Ironically, a space crunch in the 21st century is forcing the university to again set up "temporary" buildings to house displaced labs and classrooms. Is a new era of shackitecture dawning?

E Hall
E Hall, known as the "Tin Shack", housed the chemical engineering
laboratory in the 1920s. The Old Chem Lab is in the background.
View looking south from 24th St.

The Chemical Engineering (E.P. Schoch) Building

Chemical Engineering Building.
The Chemical Engineering Building in the 1940s. Schoch's acetylene shed can be seen on the left.

Completed in 1942, EPS was one of the last buildings overseen by campus master planner Paul Cret, who died in 1945. It is located on the East Mall, just across Speedway from the 1978 Welch addition. The Mediterranean style so enthusiastically revived for earlier structures was by this time just a faint echo, and EPS has little to commend it architecturally or historically. It was named for Prof. Schoch in 1969. After Chemical Engineering moved out in 1986, the building was renovated to house the departments of Anthropology and Germanic Languages. Today EPS is occupied by the Jackson School of Geosciences.

Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Building (CPE)


The new CPE building opened in 1986 on the northeast corner of 26th Street (now Dean Keeton) and Speedway Blvd. It was part of the last wave of the building boom that saw the construction of most of the current engineering complex.


Perry-Castañeda Library
101 East 21st St.
Austin, TX. 78713

Phone: (512) 495-4250

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