Massachusetts Hall, Harvard

Massachusetts Hall

1718

National Historic Landmark

Three halls—Massachusetts, Hollis, and Stoughton—surround two early quadrangles of the Yard. All were built as dormitories. The stacked suites are organized around entries with individual stairways that minimize corridors. The social orientation is thus vertical rather than horizontal, and the basic social unit is limited to the number of suites with direct access to each stair. Most of the later Harvard dormitories, called houses, followed this layout. While the suite concept was retained, their composition was altered to include a shared sitting room and separate bedroom-studies.

Massachusetts Hall is Harvard's oldest building, and was used during the Siege of Boston as quarters for the Continental Army. The interiors have been extensively altered for use as offices by Harvard's President, Provost, and Treasurer. Only the top floor still houses first year students.