Tax Credit Program Highlight: McFarlin Dormitory Complex, Trinity University

San Antonio, Bexar County



Listed in the National Register as part of the Trinity University Historic District

Historic Use

Women’s dormitories

Current Use

Co-ed dormitories

Date Certified

June 22, 2018


Certified for state tax credits only.

Project Contact

ArchiTexas, Trinity University


Trinity University's San Antonio campus is famous for its hilly, wooded site—built on the land of a former stone quarry—and its beautiful collection of original Mid-Century Modern buildings by architect O’Neil Ford. The campus opened in 1952, and the McFarlin complex (designed by O’Neil Ford and Bartlett Cocke) was constructed the following year for use as female dormitories. The complex consists of three dormitories and a central lounge building, arrayed together on a hillside and connected by covered bridges and walkways. The buildings were constructed using a state-of-the-art “lift-slab” construction technique, which involves casting the concrete floor slabs on top of each other at ground level, then hydraulically lifting and welding them into place to form the multiple stories of the building.

Rehabilitation Project

This dormitory complex received general repairs and upgrades during the summer of 2017, between two consecutive academic years. The work involved improvements to the dormitory storage closets and restrooms, new flooring, replacement of outdoor privacy panels between resident balconies, exterior cleaning, and repainting of exterior railings, windows, and other previously painted exterior building elements. This project is part of a larger scheme to provide ongoing maintenance and building improvements throughout the campus, and the use of tax credits for this work is part of the impetus behind the 2018 designation of the Trinity campus as a National Register Historic District.

Photo Gallery

Click on any image to view the photo gallery.

  • The exterior of the mid-century dorm complex shows its Modern-style roots, featuring flat brick walls, broad strips of metal windows, and an expressed concrete slab floor structure.