New Adams Will Preserve Historic Decor, Improve Accessibility

Adams House Exterior
The exterior of Adams House.

Adams House will retain several of its historic features—such as the pool theater and the former suite of President Franklin D. Roosevelt—when it undergoes renovations, starting in the spring of 2019.

The renovations will also preserve the Coolidge Room and the elliptical stairs in Randolph Hall—one of the seven buildings that comprise Adams—and the lobby of Claverly Hall, another building, according to a press release.

These specifics follow the hosting of a town hall in March intended to elicit residents’ input on the renovations. At the town hall many students emphasized the need for the preservation of Adams House’s “finer details.”

The pool theater in Westmorly Court, a building that houses mostly upperclassmen, was originally a 100-year-old swimming pool. After its closing in March 1990, the space was converted into a theater intended to host both student and professional productions.


In addition to these preservations, administrators and architects are looking to improve accessibility. The seven buildings of Adams House now include only one elevator in Claverly Hall; by the end of the project, there will be eight spanning across the House. All entrances will also be made accessible as well.

Architect Elizabeth R. Leber, a partner at Beyer Blinder Belle, the firm overseeing the project, said in the press release that the renewal of Adams is “particularly exciting.

“Each House renewal project comes with a distinct set of challenges and opportunities,” Leber said. “Adams House is a particularly exciting project for us, in that it occupies some of the oldest and most historically significant buildings in the House system, with architectural details that are about as unique and extraordinary as the Adams House culture.”

Adams is the next house slated to undergo renewal, with renovations of Lowell House wrapping up in 2019. Previously, the University renovated Dunster and Winthrop Houses, and portions of Quincy and Leverett Houses.

—Staff writer Katherine E. Wang can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @katherineewang.


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