Yale University sought to expand its undergraduate student body by 15 percent with two new residential colleges. It was essential that the new colleges continue the tradition of the residential college system, which forms the foundation of the student experience at Yale. The new colleges are located on a triangular site just south of Science Hill, on a block that previously hosted an assortment of academic structures and parking lots but was unrecognizable as Yale territory, lacking a clear focus or relationship to its surroundings. This project strengthens this weak link between Yale’s historic core to the south and Science Hill to the north and collapses the perceived distance between them to bring a critical mass of students to the area.
In organizing student rooms and common areas, the design team researched Yale’s time-honored “entryway” system of residential units stacked around separate entries and stair halls and arrangement of social spaces organized around quadrangles. The design replicates the sense of community that the original colleges provide by creating connections and adjacencies between the non-residential student spaces and the courtyards of each college, working from the outside in to distribute the many interrelated program components and achieve a finely calibrated social organization. The scale of the original dining halls was retained using alcoves and side areas to expand capacity. The colleges combine the most effective building technologies of our time with artisanal techniques to achieve a distinct Gothic expression that supports the successful living/learning environment critical to the Yale experience.
Robert A.M. Stern Architects; also Olin Partnership; Weidlinger Associates, Inc.; Buro Happold; Tighe & Bond; Haley & Aldrich; Dimeo Construction Company