New Quincy House, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

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New Quincy, a component of the larger Quincy House complex, was designed in 1958-59 by the Boston firm of Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson, and Abbott. The firm also designed Leverett Towers nearby. New Quincy is a more modest height (eight stories including a rooftop setback) than its neighbor, although it still looms over many of its older neighbors. It runs along Mt. Auburn and Dewolfe Streets, with the main entrance actually on Mill Street.

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The complex includes an elevated house library, a similar solution to what Shepley Bulfinch used at Leverett, although Quincy’s building is faced in a more traditional brick. There is also a two-story dining commons along Mt. Auburn with an interesting roofline, floor to ceiling windows, and an interior mural by Constantino Nivola that it seems is not beloved.

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One Response to New Quincy House, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

  1. Todd Larson says:

    While I agree that New Quincy House itself is a mundane mid-century block (what a shame that it was designed by the successors of the architects of Eliot, Dunster and Harvard’s other great towered Georgian Revival houses!), I can’t say the same for the elevated house library and dining commons. That is a very imaginative use of space. For one, it involves a reinvention of the English brick garden wall, which creates a private, serene “outdoor room” for the ground-floor lounge by sequestering the garden and lounge from the hustle-and-bustle of Mount Auburn Street. The dining commons are a vast, airy atrium naturally lit by multiple skylights (an early example of solar power) and playfully adorned with Constantino Nivola’s inventive mural to give the space more visual interest. The library’s window walls bring in a lot of light for daytime study, too. This building did a lot to adapt Harvard students to modern life in a way that was ahead of its time while drawing on the timeless vintage form of the brick garden wall. I wish they still made buildings like this.

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