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.
Laying claim to the number one spot in this year's rankings, Kirkland has plenty of perks: a plethora of House traditions including the ever-infamous Incestfest, adorable House Masters with even more adorable dogs, a world record in its courtyard, and a location close to class, Noch's, and the MAC. Kirkland is one of Harvard's smallest Houses, so freshmen, beware—it won't be easy to get in, but if you do, you'll never want to leave.
House Spirit: Kirkland residents are incredibly close—some might say too close, particularly on a certain morning in December. Survey responses on the perks of Kirkland life were fairly evenly distributed between Incestfest, Secret Santa Week, and "EVERYTHING." Spirit is strong thanks to the many events Kirklanders look forward to year after year: the House also runs an annual "Humans vs. Zombies" tournament, plays host to the Cultural Rhythms Artist of the Year, offers the ever-popular Wine Seminar, and runs a Case Day with nothing to do with consulting. Their sweetest tradition, though, is Boat Club, when residents gather weekly on Sundays for milk and freshly baked cookies. Perhaps due to horror non-residents feel at the cult-like nature of the House, Kirkland placed eighth in House spirit.
Housing Quality: Rooming is Kirkland's weakest link. Rooms tend to be on the smaller side, with some DeWolfe housing available for overflow, no guaranteed singles, and of course the river pests we try not to think about. DeWolfe housing tends to be the best rooming available for sophomores, but at several blocks away, it can keep them isolated from House life. One resident lamented, "Some seniors don't get N+1 housing, which is a travesty. But I do." All this, of course, has to do with the downside of small rooms and walkthroughs. The rooms themselves, however, retain an elegant old-Harvard aesthetic, with marble staircases in the entryways, window ledges, wooden floors, and brick fireplaces, making the rooms themselves cozy and quaint. For all this, Kirkland placed seventh in housing quality.
Dining Hall: Kirkland's dining hall is the smallest on the river, and it shows (in a good way.) The dining hall is sunny, the staff is friendly, and the small, café style tables are napkin dispenser free, thanks to an aesthetic movement on the part of the House Masters. To those from outside Kirkland, don't be alarmed if students suddenly break out in the House's very own Kirkland Ode midway through a meal. Sharing a kitchen with neighbor Eliot, whose dining hall placed fourth, Kirkland's came out just ahead, placing third in poll rankings.
Facilities: Kirkland is lacking in meeting rooms, but more than makes up for it with its dark wood-paneled JCR, which is decked out with a grandiose carving above the fireplace and two pianos, though it is sadly bookable only for House events. Hicks House, that white house you might have walked by on JFK St., serves as the House's library and dates back to 1762. Open only to Kirkland residents, the library is one of the House's hidden treasures.
Rating: Thanks to the cult of John Thornton Kirkland, Kirkland places first in this year's rankings. Granted, this might also have something to do with the prime location, cozy dining hall, and cozier community, but either way, keep your fingers crossed for a piece of this prime real estate.