Mather House

The Harvard Crimson

As part of our Housing Market series, we'll be posting reviews and rankings for each of Harvard's 12 residential Houses over the next few days. Click here to read more about the series.

Perhaps no Harvard House inspires as passionate, conflicting opinions as Mather does. While some lament its distance from the Yard, others note that Mather has its own shuttle stop, and argue that it's not nearly as far as the Quad Houses. Many complain about the concrete architecture and aesthetically unpleasing wall-to-wall carpeting, but on the flip side, Mather guarantees its residents singles for life. That being said, most Matherites put distance and beauty aside; for them, it's "Mather all the way baby."

House Spirit: Matherites are loud and proud about their House spirit, and in poll comments, over 50 percent of respondents named House spirit as Mather's strongest asset. The Stein Clubs are always well attended, and every year Mather welcomes a multitude of drenched freshmen with open arms to its "Mather Lather," a soapy, sud-filled party in the dining hall. Aside from HoCo organized events, Mather residents are also known for hosting crowded parties every weekend.

Housing Quality: Mather famously guarantees its residents singles for life in suite-style living. If you value privacy, Mather is the place for you. Or, as one resident put it, "Singles for life means you won't be single for life." The singles are quite spacious, and in the poll Mather was ranked fourth among the Houses in overall housing quality. Suites can include multiple floors and large common rooms, and there's generally a lot of socializing among residents of each floor. The problem of course is that Mather looks more like a concrete box than an old Harvard house. If you're looking for ivy-enlaced brick walls, Mather probably wouldn't be your first choice, but if you want to upgrade to a Queen size bed in your dorm room, Mather won't disappoint.

Dining Hall: Matherites are very proud of their dining hall, which features floor-to-ceiling glass windows that allow for nice, natural lighting and a terrific view of the Charles river. The dining hall is great if you prefer a more modern feel, and many Mather residents return there during the day for meals despite its distance from classes.

Facilities: The modern architecture certainly does not make for a homey vibe, but many Matherites don't seem to mind. After all, as one resident notes, "The outside isn't classically Harvard, but at least we look at Dunster instead of having to live in it. It's all about the view." Mather does have a variety of social spaces, and an underground tunnel system connects most areas of the House, saving Matherites from the blistering winter cold. Mather residents feeling the urge to exercise can take advantage of its cardio and weight rooms, while those who just want to hang out with friends can use the Mather pool, ping pong, or foosball tables.

Rating: Mather's distance from the Yard and concrete jungle exterior contributed to its overall ranking of ninth out of 12. The low ranking, however, will probably come as a surprise to the residents who claim, "Mather is probably the best thing that happened to Harvard."

Our rankings so far:

9. Mather

10. Winthrop

11. Cabot

12. Dunster