Server Hall Praised as Architecturally Significant
Globe Panel of Experts Cites Harvard Building as Sixth Best in Greater Boston Area
A panel of experts cited in yesterday's Boston Globe magazine rated Sever Hall the sixth most "architecturally significant" building in the Boston area.
Sever "reveals an infinite subtlety of form and detail that has always endeared it to architects," wrote Globe architecture reporter Robert Campbell.
Harvard students reacted with disbelief.
Deemed "massive and unwelcoming" by Jennie M.Lascelle '98, Sever is often considered one of the ugliest and least notable buildings on campus.
Lascelle said the recently-renovated Matthews Hall or Emerson Hall would have been a more appropriate choice.
Susan A. Dunn '98 said Sever Hall's architecture "never struck me in any way," instead suggesting Memorial Church as more worthy of being recognized.
Campbell conceded in Sunday's article that Sever often seems "gloomy" and looks like it is "carved out of one single enormous brick."
But one of the Globe's jury member's called it "the 'coolest' building in the city."
Sever's architecture allows for special acoustics: a student standing on one side of the entrance arch can speak into the bricks and let the echo carry the words to a listener on the other side.
"The whispering effect sounds like a running stream," said Dunn.
The architect of Sever, Henry Hobson Richardson, also designed the top-ranked building in yesterday's ratings: Trinity Church in Copley Square.
Other Harvard buildings also recognized by the Globe were Harvard Stadium, which tied for 11th place (with Fenway Park), the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, which tied for 13th, and the Law School's Austin Hall, which placed 16th.
The judging committee included one member from the University-- Director of Urban Design Programs Director Alex Krieger.