Hamilton Village: An Overview of Renewal Plans

The Olin Partnership of Philadelphia, the firm of planners and landscape architects hired by the University to review campus development, has shared its initial findings on Hamilton Village with the consultative committee of students, faculty and staff advising the University on this large segment of the Housing and Dining Renewal Project. The findings were approved at the last committee meeting on April 15.

Olin, headed by Penn professor Laurie Olin, has determined that the goal of adding 1000 bed spaces to the College House system can be achieved by the construction of low-rise buildings organized to create a series of intimate quadrangles that are amicable in scale with the neighborhood. The firm based its calculations on a typical four-bedroom apartment, the preference of most students, which allows for 300-350 square feet per person. The next step will be the selection of one or more architects to design the new buildings and oversee the renovation of all the existing high-rise and low-rise residential buildings. Six internationally recognized architectural firms [were scheduled to visit April 26-30] to learn about the campus and the College House system. The firms are: Kieran, Timberlake & Harris (Philadelphia); Morphosis (Santa Monica); Patkau Architects (Vancouver, Canada); Simon Martin-Vegue Winkelstein Moris (San Francisco); Tod Williams/Billie Tsien and Associates (New York); and William Rawn Associates of Boston.

Each firm will be given the initial task of submitting designs for the northwest quadrant of Hamilton Village (bordered by Walnut Street, 39th Street, Locust Walk, and 40th Street), reflecting both the renovation of the existing buildings and the creation of new ones. The firms will be asked to incorporate approximately 1640 beds into this quadrant of Hamilton Village.

The final selection of architects will take place this summer, after the committee and University community have thoroughly reviewed all submissions. This large, multi-year commission may be divided among several of the firms, with the goal that all College Houses--historic and new--will be distinctive in design and character.

With the continued support of the Hamilton Village committee, as well as subcommittees established for each College House, design development for the first new construction will take place next fall and winter. Construction of approximately 700 new beds is set to begin in the summer of 2000, to be completed in time for occupancy in September 2002. The new construction will serve, for approximately five years, as swing space for each of the present College Houses (excluding the Quadrangle, where construction will be limited to the summer months) as they are taken out of service for a year of renovation. The entire project is expected to require a decade.

A notable part of the renovation may be the construction of one or two-story "skirts" around the bases of Hamilton, Harnwell, and Harrison College Houses. These additions could provide generous new public spaces, and they are likely to moderate the current wind tunnel effect. Plans for renovation and expansion of the Class of 1920 Commons will also be considered during the first part of this campaign, with the intention of creating individual dining rooms for each of the College Houses in Hamilton Village.

Hamilton Village Committee

Douglas Berger, Director, Department of Housing and Conference Services
Jennifer Bible, Graduate Associate, Hamilton College House
Tom Boulay, Undergraduate, Residential Advisor, Harrison College House
David Brownlee, Director, College Houses and Academic Services
Sonia Elliott, House Dean, DuBois College House
Jennifer Jong, Undergraduate, Residential Advisory Board, Hamilton College House
Robert Lucid, Faculty Master, Gregory College House
Philip Nichols, Faculty Master, Stouffer College House
Sue Smith, Associate Director, College Houses and Academic Services


Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 31, May 4, 1999

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