Harvard Ready for Decade of Renewal
Expected to span more than a decade, the House Renewal program at Harvard University is a comprehensive effort to give new life to the University’s 12 aging undergraduate houses. Built more than 80 years ago, the houses were in desperate need of a complete renovation and systems updating. More than just addressing physical infrastructure, the functional spaces within the houses will also be examined and revised to provide spaces and programs that did not exist previously. While retaining all of the historic character which these house have imparted to generations of students, they will be more comfortable, integrated with technology, and feature enhanced community amenities.
The initiative began with a comprehensive study of the current conditions and functional effectiveness of the houses. Then, two smaller test houses where identified for renovations to inform the process of the impacts and scope of the work needed for the 12 large houses. This data formed the basis of design and construction, and clarified the necessary pacing for the rest of the project. The first test, Stone Hall, formerly known as Old Quincy House, was utilized as its size and neo-Georgian architecture provided valuable lessons that could be applied to the other buildings.
The second, McKinlock Hall, was evaluated for local and regional approaches to providing chilled water and emergency power to the complex. The third, Lowell House, was evaluated for air conditioning options due to its similar size. Finally, in preparation for the commencement of the program, the “swing” housing was selected and prepared to accommodate students during the renewal of each of the 12 houses.