Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Dean Michael D. Smith and Harvard College Dean Evelynn Hammonds today (Jan. 14, 2011) announced that Old Quincy House will be used as a test project to explore design and construction options for a future system-wide House renewal project.

“The Houses are the cornerstone of the Harvard undergraduate experience,” said Dean Smith, John H. Finley Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “Even during the financial difficulties of the last two years, we have moved ahead with planning for system-wide House renewal, which aims to configure this beloved institution for the future. We want to ensure that the Houses remain the powerful, generative places they have always been for Harvard students, and we’re excited to get a chance to test a part of our vision in Old Quincy.”

Dean Smith said that Old Quincy’s size and neo-Georgian architecture will enable planners to learn lessons that can be applied to other buildings.

Quincy House consists of two buildings, Old and New Quincy. Old Quincy House, about half the size of most of the neo-Georgian Houses and without its own dining hall or master’s residence, provides a valuable opportunity to test design concepts, while limiting disruption of the House community. The plan assumes the FAS and the College will close Old Quincy House for 15 months — or one academic year plus the summers before and after — beginning in June 2012. Affected students will reside in nearby “swing” space, potentially properties owned by Harvard Real Estate Services (HRES). The approximately 180 students will remain part of the Quincy House community throughout the project, and will continue eating in the dining hall in New Quincy.

Though no timeline for system-wide House renewal has been set, Dean Smith made it clear that timing would be tied directly to the availability of funding.

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