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