The building was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect who also designed Goodhue Hall, the West Gym, Cowling, Watson Hall, and the fourth floor addition to Myers Hall. Yamasaki also designed the World Trade Center in New York.
Olin consists of four floors.
- Basement - lecture halls, psychology labs
- First Floor - Psychology Department office and professors' offices, lecture halls, psychology labs
- Second Floor - physics classroom labs, physics student lounge
- Third Floor - Physics and Astronomy Department office and professors' offices, physics classroom labs, physics professors' labs
F.W. Olin Foundation
Many colleges have science buildings named Olin. From the Olin College Web site, "The F. W. Olin Foundation was established in 1938 by Franklin W. Olin, an engineer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and professional baseball player. In the 60 years since, the F.W. Olin Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $300 million to construct and fully equip 72 buildings on 57 independent college campuses. The majority of these are teaching and laboratory facilities for engineering and science, but facilities for information technology, business, the humanities, and the arts, plus a number of libraries, have also been constructed. Grant recipients include Babson, Bucknell, Carleton, Case-Western, Colgate, Cornell, DePauw, Hampton, Harvey Mudd, Johns Hopkins, Marquette, Rose-Hulman Institute, Tufts, University of San Diego, University of Southern California, Vanderbilt, and Worcester Polytechnic."
The F. W. Olin Foundation is not to be confused with the New York-based John M. Olin Foundation, "which grew out of a family manufacturing business (chemical and munitions) and funded right-wing think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research, and the Hoover Institute of War, Revolution and Peace. The foundation handed out up to $20 million a year for 30 years. (It shut down in 2005 after meeting its founder's wishes to "spend his money within a generation." - New York Times, 29 May 2005) It also gave large sums of money to promote conservative programs in the country's most prestigious colleges and universities." See Media Transparency.