Harvard Announces Renovation Plans for Old Quincy House

Construction on Old Quincy will begin in mid-2012

Although the next House slated for renovation had not yet been decided, the plans for Old Quincy have been modeled in Lowell House to ensure that they can be implemented on a larger scale, Smith said.

That plans in Old Quincy can be emulated in other Houses is one of the reasons why the building was selected for the test stage in House renewal. While Old Quincy retains the neo-Georgian architecture common among River Houses, areas that are distinctive to Houses, such as dining halls, are absent from the building.

Harvard announced the selection of Old Quincy for the test phase of House renewal in January. The students displaced by the renovation will be housed in three Harvard-owned apartment buildings—Hampden Hall, Fairfax Hall, and Ridgely Hall—all of which are scattered throughout the Square.

Although Smith said that a project larger than Old Quincy will require the creation of a swing space, whether Harvard will construct a new building or designate existing space for that purpose remains undetermined.

“When we undertake the renewal of an entire House, we will eventually need a swing house,” Smith said. “The swing space that we are using for Old Quincy won’t be sufficient to house the residents of an entire House.”



Still, the plans released today represent the first concrete realization of years of planning for the largest renovation of the College’s House system in history. Harvard first announced its intention to renovate the Houses in April of 2008, releasing a report that offered proposals to guide renovations a year later. It was not until this year, however, that Harvard announced decisions regarding specific Houses or plans.

Yet questions remain on the order in which the Houses will be renovated, the extent to which plans in Quincy will be replicated across the Houses, and the final cost of the entire venture.

House Masters have speculated that Old Leverett—with its old age and similar structure to that of Old Quincy—will likely be the next building on tap to be renewed.

Smith declined to comment on whether the House Masters were correct.

House renewal is the top priority of a multi-billion dollar capital campaign that is currently in a “quiet phase,” a process where the University determines the goals of the campaign and solicits contributions from major donors. Renovations in Old Quincy will be funded by a combination of FAS funds and alumni gifts, according to Smith.

In a video about the latest plans for House renewal, Smith reiterated the importance of the initiative, whose effects will be felt by generations of Harvard students to come.

“The renewal of Harvard’s House system is an opportunity to re-imagine residential education in the 21st century,” he said.

—Staff writer Monika L. S. Robbins can be reached at

—Staff writer Hana N. Rouse can be reached at


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