Silhouetted against the morning sun, a House crew hoists its boat high overhead at dockside, ready for a practice row on the Charles. Inside a master’s residence in Quincy House, amateur artists expand their creative horizons at a “paint bar,” working side-by-side with fellow students, offering encouragement and critique. High in the tower of Lowell House, a small group of yoga devotees stretches skyward in unison as a thin beam of late afternoon sun slices across the room, adding a mystical touch.

These are but a few of the images depicting House life at Harvard, a system started by President Lowell in 1929. Whether the activity is throwing pots, or performing an opera, or gathering in a basement café for coffee and spirited conversation, the Houses provide a smaller-scale “home” environment that is intimate and personable. Here in the Houses students are encouraged to pursue new pathways, to stretch themselves in ways both physical and intellectual, and to bond with their Housemates as they develop skills and friendships that complement their academic education.

— Jon Chase

1 Through the ornately decorated gate, one catches a glimpse of the Eliot House courtyard. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
2 Sol (from left), age 6, the son of resident dean Jill Constantino, relaxes under a tree while the children of Cabot House Masters Rakesh and Stephanie Khurana, Jai, age 9, and Nalini, age 12, have an impromptu running race on Radcliffe Quadrangle on move-in day at Harvard University. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
3 Luchen Wang ’14 reads under the imagined shade of a tree that casts its branches along the mural decorating the walls of the Quincy House basement. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
4 Michelle Haan ’12, who lives in Pforzheimer House, enjoys the sun and sounds from her iPod on the Radcliffe Quadrangle. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
5 Eliot House residents who participate in the Eliot Boat Club, the intramural crew program, arrive at the boat house launch along the Charles River. Members of a women’s team, including Caroline Cox ’14 (from left), Brianne Corcoran, Zuzanna Wojcieszak, and Elizabeth Fryman ’12, board the scull before heading out on the water. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
6 Shaomin Chew ’13 leads a yoga class in the Lowell House Tower Room. Katie Sylvan ’13, Eli Martin ’13, Jerry Tullo ’12, and Johnny Motley ’12 hold a pose. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
7 Members of an intramural House crew team lift their scull into the Charles River. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
8 Nicholas Galat ’13 works out in the fitness room inside Quincy House. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
9 High Table dinner at Lowell House. Twins Danielle ’14 (left) and Arielle Rabinowitz ’14 perform a piano duet before a black-tie High Table dinner at Lowell House. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
10 Nicole Sliva ’12 (from left), Quincy House Co-Master Deborah Gehrke, and Amy Sun ’12 enjoy “Deb’s Paint Bar” inside the master’s residence in Quincy House. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
11 Caroline Lowe ’12 works in the Quincy House pottery studio. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
12 George Kenty manages the Eliot House Woodshop, where students come to create anything from doorstops to Adirondack chairs. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
13 Baristas Anna Menzel ’15 (from left), Marie-Fatima Hyacinthe ’14, and Nicolas Jofre ’13 serve coffee at the Cabot Cafe in the basement of Cabot House. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
14 Musician and former Lowell House artist-in-residence Livingston Taylor (right) plants a kiss on the cheek of Maurice Pechet, former researcher and professor at Harvard Medical School. Pechet, who passed away in March 2012 at the age of 95, spent 70 years at Harvard, and mentored generations of students and biochemists. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
15 Cabot House students, along with their House Master Rakesh Khurana (wearing scarf), storm the Yard on Housing Day, an annual tradition where all the upperclassmen meet in the Yard to wake up the freshmen and tell them which House they will live in for the next three years. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
16 Quincy House students Catherine Shiels ’13 (bottom, from left), Scott Yim ’13, and Lydia Chung ’14 welcome new House residents during Housing Day inside Annenberg Hall. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
17 Lowell House Masters Dorothy Austin (center) and Diana Eck (right) are joined by Ellie Brinkley ’13 as they display a House flag on Housing Day in Harvard Yard. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
18 The Lowell House “Blue Man,” otherwise known as Steven A. Soto ’14, strikes a pose as he is carried through the crowd on Housing Day, an annual tradition where all the upperclassmen meet in the Yard to wake up the freshmen and tell them which House they will live in for the next three years. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
19 Dan Bruder ’12 (from left) and Seth Pearce ’12 do ballet in the Yard on Housing Day, an annual tradition where all the upperclassmen meet in the Yard to wake up the freshmen and tell them which House they will live in the following three years. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
20 Eliot House graduate Oscar Zarate ’12 is congratulated by his family after he receives his degree on Commencement Day. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer