Cambridge, MA

University of Notre Dame

Individual Studio Project

Fall 2008

  • Studio Special Commendation

Designed and drafted in AutoCAD and displayed on sixteen 30x40 inch plates. Presentation rendered in black and white and color in Photoshop to show theoretical design as well as realistic materials. 


Completed in the fall of 2008, this project focused on the design a 200 person freshman residential house for the Harvard Yard.  On the site of current Canaday Hall, the new residence hall is intended to replace the more recently constructed building.  The site of the project is located behind the Memorial Chapel and is a major transition point between the historical red brick buildings characteristic to the university and the more contemporary buildings of the new campus.  Challenges addressed within the project include preservation and augmentation of existing structures, and the balance of private and public living spaces.     

Site Development
After examining the Harvard Yard through a series of figure ground studies, it was evident that a strong axial quality exists between the Memorial Chapel and Weidner Library.  This relationship dictated the basic design decisions, and determined the location of the building.  With symmetries and axes in mind, the entrance lobby is in line with that of the Memorial Chapel, and the mass of the dorm wraps around the Memorial Chapel to balance the overwhelming size of the Weidner library located on south side of the quad.  Sidewalks and the sloped plaza off of the building portico direct pedestrians to the dorm entrances.  The service and loading area is located on the east side of the site.

Design Process
In designing the dorm, it was important to compliment the Memorial Chapel, the cultural and spiritual center of the campus, through conscience decisions pertaining to character, building height, and appropriate materials.  The basic parti of the dorm contains two self supporting wings, with a central circulation core that services all five levels of the building.  Administrative functions including the assistant dean’s suite and office, classrooms, computer cluster, and library are located on the ground floor where pedestrian traffic is the heaviest.  Each wing of the residence hall has sixteen double suites with shared corner lounges, study spaces, and kitchens.  Entertainment amenities for the residents such as a     theater, music and exercise rooms, laundry facilities, and additional study spaces are located in the basement.  

Inspiration for the project was drawn from the surrounding precedent as well as modern influences, and tailored specifically to the needs of students at the University.  The work of Aldo Rossi, who used the principals of classical design within a modern context, was closely examined and adapted in the final design.  This is evident in the overall proportioning systems, basic geometries, and color scheme.  Building materials include red brick, yellow block, and copper windows, gutter boxes, and downspouts.