(New) Quincy House, Harvard College

(New) Quincy House

Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott, 1959

Harleston Parker Medal, 1960

The first new Harvard “House” built since the 1930s, Quincy jettisons the neo-Georgian vocabulary of the seven Houses up the river for a rather tame version of the International Style. Missing are the romantic dormers, chimneys and cupolas of the earlier residential buildings, and the spiky silhouettes of Jose Lluis Sert’s later Peabody Terrace.

The new Quincy House started with neo-Georgian Mather Hall, and then added housing, commons and libraries around garden courtyards not unlike those of the other houses. Harvard red brick makes a connection to the neighbors, but as abstract panels sandwiched between floor slabs rather than as traditional walls with windows punched into them. The solidity of the masonry plays off the voids of the windows to animate what are otherwise fairly inert volumes.

It is all part of Harvard’s ongoing efforts to build bridges between familiar forms and materials from the past, and new ways of building its campus. The Shepley Bullfinch firm has played a central role in this exploration, building on founder H.H. Richardson’s pioneering work at Harvard in the 1870’s and 80’s to complete dozens of projects across the university over the following century.