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Bullitt Denies Charges Against Eighth House

Alumni Letters Say Plan in Poor Taste


The Master of the yet to be built eighth House denied a series of charges that the new structure would look like a "large apartment building" and have a front resembling "a checkered calico print," yesterday.

John M. Bullitt '43 said that the "whole relation of glass and brick in the house facade will prevent it from looking like a factory, and will blend in with the architecture of the existing houses with little difficulty."

The land available for construction of the new house, plus rising costs, Bullitt explained, will not allow construction of a House comparable to the other Houses.

Bullitt stated that a taller building is necessary to house adequately a large number of students, and, that "an eight story Georgian building just isn't Georgian."

Hocking Attacks

The controversy began with an attack by William E. Hocking '01, Alford Professor of Philosophy, emeritus, in the October 12 edition of the Alumni Bulletin. Hocking claimed that the "frontal pattern of the new house suggests a calico print." He added that it is "devoid of taste, devoid of interest, devoid of imagination, and devoid of dignity," and concluded that "unfortunately it will last a long time...."

The Bulletin published a series of letters supporting Hocking a month later. John P. Riesman '34 protested against the "dull, tasteless, misfit building which is about to be dumped next to handsome Leverett House and behind our lovely Dunster House. What are we trying to do now, impress the moderns, or shock the oldsters?" he asked.

"Future Generations Will Condemn"

Another alumnus, William P. Bailey '46, stated that "regarding the new House, if the mediocre, indeed incoherent design conception of the west elevation is an indication of the interior of this structure, then Harvard has commissioned a building that will ... give future generations just cause to condemn the aesthetic judgement of those who are now at the helm of the College."

Bullitt replied that the design of the House was the result of 25 years' experience. He pointed out that the architects who are planning the new House, created the original designs for the existing Houses.

Both interior and exterior of the new structure will be attractive and functional, Bullitt claimed. He contrasted this with defects in the present Houses. Bullitt cited misplaced common rooms and inadequate dining halls as typical faults of some of the existing buildings

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