Peabody Terrace, Harvard University

Peabody Terrace

Sert, Jackson and Gourley, 1964

Renovation: Bruner/Cott, 1993–1995

Harleston Parker Medal, 1966

Built at same time as Sert's Holyoke Center in Harvard Square, this married student housing was innovative in its era. For families with children, it includes day care space on the ground floor and play areas outside. Low-rise structures of three, five, and seven stories relate to the scale of the neighborhood and form courtyards, recalling other Harvard housing along the river. Three twenty-two-story towers rise up from this base, with sculpted facades, balconies, sunscreens and carefully arranged windows deployed as abstracted evocations of the Spanish hill towns Sert knew in his youth.

A skip-floor interior circulation system with elevators and corridors every third floor allow floor-through apartments reached from private stairs up or down. The entire complex is designed to provide both privacy and a sense of community – with pedestrian pathways that link it to the surrounding neighborhood.

Sert's innovations did not meet uniform acclaim at the time (Harvard Crimson: “University Moves to Thwart Early Marriages”), but the project received the Harleston Parker medal and continues to serve generations of Harvard graduate students and their families in Mediterranean style.