Harvard Announces Renovation Plans for Old Quincy House

Construction on Old Quincy will begin in mid-2012

Courtesy of Harvard University and KieranTimberlake

An underground common room with access to a terrace will be one of the most significant changes to Old Quincy when renovations are complete in 2013.

Updated at 1:55 a.m.

Separate vertical entryways and walk-through bedrooms will no longer be a part of Old Quincy come 2013, when the first stage of a series of renovations across the Houses is complete.

Termed a “test project” by administrators, the renovation of Old Quincy, slated to begin in mid-2012, will spare the exterior of the building and the locations of the staircases, leaving little else untouched.

Hallways will connect the vertical entryways, with two centrally located elevators making the entire building accessible to students in wheelchairs—not to mention the moving process significantly less tedious.

Smith said that a portion of the dorm rooms would be handicap-accessible, but was not sure as to the exact percentage of rooms for which that would be the case.



An entirely new addition to Old Quincy will be a building-wide common room in the basement, termed a “multipurpose room” by planners and administrators. With comfortable seating, an attached kitchen, and access to a terrace facing Quincy dining hall, the multipurpose room is meant to be an area well-suited for meetings, House activities, and study sessions.

Also in the basement will be music practice rooms, meeting rooms, smart classrooms, study rooms, and single bedrooms that are part of the bottom level of duplex residential suites.

Bedrooms will be larger in size, allowing students to no longer use their common rooms as a sleeping space, said Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Currently, the building contains a mix of singles and suites for two, three, and four people. But when renovations are complete, two-thirds of the rooms in Old Quincy will be singles, and the rest, doubles.

Rooms will be arranged along the hallways in a mix of suites and clusters. Clusters and suites will both include bedrooms and a common room, but clusters will be immediately off of the public hallway, while suites will have a private hallway. This new configuration will lead to fewer suites and more hallway bathrooms.

Gone will be walk-through bedrooms, an arrangement that forced a student to walk through his or her roommate’s bedroom to reach a bathroom. Instead, bathrooms in Old Quincy will be accessible via hallways that connect either the rooms of a suite or, for clusters, the entire floor.

The connected hallways will give Quincy administrators flexibility in determining the arrangement of entryways. Larger tutor suites will be located at the corners of Old Quincy, allowing tutors to monitor students along their hallway, though Smith said that whether entryways will officially remain in a vertical arrangement or span connected hallways remains at the discretion of the House.

The renovated Old Quincy will also be more environmentally friendly than it is in its current form. New insulation in the walls and the installation of energy-efficient windows and doors could lead to a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

Currently, 179 students occupy Old Quincy—a space originally built to house 103 students—and Smith said he intends for 179 students to reside in the renovated building.

Smith would not release an estimate for the total cost of Old Quincy’s renovation, though one had been issued to the FAS administration by KieranTimberlake, the architecture firm in charge of the project.


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