Leverett House’s McKinlock Hall reopened to students at the beginning of the academic year after 15 months of reconstruction. McKinlock is the second completed project in the House renewal initiative, which is one of the largest and most ambitious capital improvement campaigns in Harvard College history and a major campaign priority.

“There is almost too much to say. The architects and the renovation team did a fabulous job of finding new and very imaginative ways of using the space in the face of all the accessibility constraints. The light court and the below-grade art-gallery-passageway are transformative features that we would never have thought of,” said Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Leverett Co-Master Howard Georgi.

“Meanwhile, previously underutilized spaces — like the Rabbit Hole and the art room — have become centers of House life, and the traditional spaces like the dining hall, common rooms, and library theater have been modernized but also restored to their old-Harvard magnificence. I knew that all the wonderful new formal spaces would be great — what surprised me were the informal spaces. The tables in the light court are used many hours a day for studying, informal meetings, or just hanging out.”

Resident Julie Monrad ’15 loves the chance encounters fostered by new common spaces. “The House renewal has been a wonderful change to our home. I was having an impromptu theater rehearsal in the art room downstairs, thinking no one would come in at 11:30 a.m. But sure enough, as I’m belting out ‘Black Horse’ and ‘Cherry Tree’ to my director, a girl comes in to inspect her art project, and I had to just keep going, as if she hadn’t entered, while she continuously gave me bizarre looks. Can’t blame her! Good to know House artists were using the space, I guess!”

“It’s almost overwhelming how many common spaces there are in the renovated McKinlock,” said Mark Steinbach ’17. “There are so many places to socialize and kick back after a long day, which really makes Leverett feel like home.”

— Kris Snibbe


1 Faculty of Arts and Sciences Assistant Dean Merle Bicknell (right) led a tour of the Leverett House renewal construction site back in May. Bicknell received valuable renovation input from residents like Sarah Abushaar ’14 (left). Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
2 During construction inside McKinlock Hall, Steve Needham, senior director of project management, gave a walk-through of Leverett House to undergraduates. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
3 Miguel Perez-Luna ’15 studies in his room. “Renovated McKinlock is stunning. It’s hard to believe this is the same McKinlock that we lived in two years ago! The whole house is taking advantage of the new common spaces. Whether in the light court, the new Rabbit Hole, or the renovated Library Theatre, there’s always something going on. We’re pretty lucky to be living here,” he said. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
4 A window inside Miguel Perez-Luna’s room frames Lowell House, which will also undergo renovation. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
5 A view of McKinlock Hall. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
6 Lien Le ’17 studies on a bench swing in the courtyard of McKinlock Hall. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
7 Julie Monrad ’15 studies inside the dining hall in the entryway of Leverett House. “The use of space for common areas has been maximized beautifully, such as that hallway. It was once a weedy entrance that had lost its spark, but the enclosement has opened up more space to the students. That archway is absolutely one of my favorite places to sit, mostly pretending to get work done as I get to see many of my friends pass through and have a quick catch-up,” said Monrad. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
8 Bay windows frame students studying in the McKinlock Hall courtyard. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
9 Mark Steinbach ’17 (left) and Jason Shen ’17 check out at a rabbit mural inside McKinlock Hall. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
10 McKinlock’s courtyard is framed by ornate gateways. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
11 Miguel Perez-Luna climbs a historic stairwell inside McKinlock Hall. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
12 Linda Wei ’16 studies in a common room in McKinlock Hall. “The renewal makes me feel more connected to the Leverett community, especially with the addition of common spaces like the Rabbit Hole. I love how McKinlock is now a combination of the new and the old,” said Wei. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
13 Mark Steinbach (left) and Jason Shen play pool inside McKinlock Hall. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
14 A lamp outside McKinlock Hall reflects Quincy House, which was also recently renovated. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
15 Undergraduates Megan McLaughlin ’16 (from left), Joan Timmins ’16, and Christine Cahill ’16 are pictured inside McKinlock Hall. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
16 Jason Light ’15 studies inside McKinlock Hall. “The House renewal did an amazing job of finding that balance between the social and studious parts of a student’s schedule. I can do my studying in one of the many common spaces around the building one moment, and then head downstairs to play a quick game of pool the next,” said Light. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
17 Mark Steinbach ’17 (from left), Andrew Paek, and Jason Shen ’17 look at a collage of House T-shirt designs. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
18 Harvard President Drew Faust and Leverett House Master Howard Georgi speak with residents Teagan Lende ’16 and Alice Hyde ’16 in McKinlock Hall. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
19 A student with a skateboard passes through the entryway of Leverett House. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
Part of Gazette Topic: Harvard Houses