Winthrop House Next In Line For Renewal at Harvard

March 25, 2015

Articles in the Harvard Gazette and Harvard Magazine take a look at Beyer Blinder Belle’s design for the renovation of Winthrop House, one of Harvard’s neo-Georgian undergraduate residential Houses, as part of the University’s House Renewal program.

Winthrop House has undergone few upgrades since its construction in 1913. The House Renewal program re-envisions Winthrop’s residential, academic, social, and co-curricular spaces and addresses technical challenges, including significant envelope upgrades, the installation of all new mechanical, electrical, and life safety systems, and both careful restoration of traditional common rooms and the creation of new public spaces. Amidst the sensitive context of Harvard’s River District, BBB is also designing a both contextual and contemporary 47-bed addition to Winthrop that will include shared amenities for the undergraduate community.

“Renewing Winthrop House”

Harvard Gazette

By: Peter Ruell, Harvard Staff Writer

“When Harvard’s Gore and Standish halls were built more than a century ago as freshman dorms, the architects of what later became Winthrop House couldn’t have dreamed of the social, technological, and programming needs of 21st-century students.

But as one of Harvard’s oldest undergraduate Houses enters its second century, it will soon be able to meet those needs for decades to come.

By far the most visible change in the plan for House renewal is the construction of a contemporary addition to Gore Hall, dubbed “Winthrop East.” The five-story addition, which would replace an existing garage at the corner of Mill and Plympton streets, is designed to bring students currently housed on DeWolfe Street “home” to the Winthrop House community, and will allow for more social, classroom, and programming space.

“As we started to think about Winthrop House renewal … we felt there was an opportunity here to provide a relief valve for the fact that there is so much pressure to accommodate students and programming in Gore and Standish halls,” said Elizabeth Leber, a partner at Beyer Blinder Belle, the architects overseeing the project. “This will truly be a seamless extension of Gore Hall, [and that] will allow us to house all the Winthrop House students under the roofs of Gore and Standish and Winthrop East. This also provides us with an opportunity to create some terrific spaces for programming and some very special spaces we think will become wonderful assets for Winthrop House.”

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Harvard Magazine followed up with its own article:

“Plans for Winthrop House Renewal Include Expansion”

Harvard Magazine

By: Jonathan Shaw

“Harvard has released broad sketches of plans for the renovation of Winthrop House; the work is scheduled to begin in 2016 and end the following year. Winthrop will be the second full House, after Dunster, to undergo renewal as part of a $1-billion-plus commitment by Harvard to enhance and upgrade the undergraduate residential House system. (Two earlier test projects were undertaken at Leverett House’s McKinlock Hall and Quincy House’s Stone Hall.) Among the principal changes envisioned at Winthrop are: the construction of a five-story addition to Gore Hall that will not only bring more than 50 students now living in “overflow” apartments on DeWolfe Street back to the House, but also include a glass-enclosed rooftop common room and open-air terrace with views of Cambridge, the Boston skyline, and the Charles River; a separate master’s residence, created by the reconstruction of a wood-frame building at the corner of Plympton Street and Memorial Drive that will be linked by new construction to Gore Hall; and expansion of the existing dining hall to accommodate all House residents.”

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