Campus & Community

New lifestyles for Stone Hall

3 min read

House renewal provides undergrads with room to roam, learn, and gather

Since students moved back into Quincy House’s Stone Hall in August, after 15 months of construction, they have explored and utilized the new academic, social, and study spaces in creative ways.

“What’s special about Harvard is there is a lot of learning that goes on in the classroom, but it doesn’t end there. I can go to a lecture on the history of Western music and when I come back here to Stone Hall and walk past the music practice room I can hear a piece by Mozart that we just talked about in class,” said Sarah Ward ’16.

“One of the things I am most impressed with about Stone Hall is the diversity of community spaces we have here available to us,” Ward said. “There are alcoves for quiet study and bigger study spaces where you can work together as a group, or just hang out. They’ve really provided space for any kind of need we would have, whether it be an academic need or a social need.”

In a few short months, Stone Hall has shown how House renewal will provide undergraduates with an array of improved spaces, each designed to better support learning, exploration, relaxation, and fun.

The new smart classroom and the Rothenberg Conference Room are hosting about half a dozen classes this semester alone. The new music practice rooms, study alcoves, and the Kates/Tobin Community Room have proven popular for study, as well as for gatherings.  Residents also have benefited from modern amenities in their rooms.

“It’s Harvard’s nature to think about the students and the need of the students, but to also maintain tradition. So I love the fact they kept the architecture and kept the old keys, but it’s a new space that’s conducive to what students need today,” said Vanessa Martinez ’16. “I really think they kept all the students in mind with all the decisions that went into this.”

Harvard’s residential Houses — where undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty live, eat, work, and learn together — are the foundation of the College experience. As multigenerational communities, each House provides residents with an intellectual as well as a physical home.  The House renewal program is designed to ensure that each House can best support the learning and living needs of modern students.

One of the largest capital improvement projects in the College’s history, House renewal is guided by five principles: preserving the historic character of the Houses; invigorating House life; connecting spaces and nurturing community; providing modern accommodations and sustainable operations; and accommodating the future.

Leverett’s McKinlock Hall, the second test project, is currently under construction and scheduled to be completed when students arrive for the fall 2014 term. Construction on Dunster, the first full House to undergo renewal, will begin after Commencement in the spring. Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael D. Smith recently announced that the renewal of Winthrop House will follow the completion of Dunster.