Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Celebrating Midcentury Modern design while reinvigorating the student life within
The Jordans, part of Harvard’s Pforzheimer House, was opened by Radcliffe College in 1961 as an experiment in communal living. Our renovation transformed this pair of three-story residences, revealing the beauty of their underlying physical form. We reconfigured living spaces to capitalize on daylight and connections to the outside, increasing their appeal to students.
Prior to renovation, the Jordans had fallen into disrepair and were judged “least attractive” by Harvard students. Although not obvious, the buildings offered real opportunities, primarily because of the site and landscape. The large corner lot and the opportunity to utilize daylight and views helped to shape an interior and exterior design that provided almost every student room with a direct visual connection to nature. The Jordans are now highly coveted by juniors and seniors.
- Bed count increased from 54 to 63 without changing the buildings’ square footage.
- New program organizes groups of two, three, and four single bedrooms in a common suite area with a kitchenette and private bathroom.
- Large operable windows were installed, filling the end walls of the common suite areas and providing an open, airy view of the exterior courtyard and landscaping.
- Once an impediment to access, the raised site became an opportunity to create a new social space, a path between stepped planter beds with a seat wall, and bike storage.
- Other improvements included wheelchair accessible entries to both buildings, and adding an elevator to Jordan South.