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Harvard University Opens New Graduate Student Residence


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Harvard University Opens New Graduate Student Residence

Designed By Architect Kyu Sung Woo

Site-Sensitive Design Creates New Charles River Landmark in Cambridge

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NEW YORK – Architect Kyu Sung Woo has designed a new graduate housing complex for Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. The 115,000 SF project is a part of University’s ongoing effort to house 50 percent of its graduate, professional and doctoral students, further supporting a strong residential campus community and helping to alleviate pressure on the local housing market. The scheme houses 215 beds in over 30 different suite types, and includes a faculty director’s suite, a fitness room, study lounge spaces, a multipurpose room, and a garage that extends under the building, its courtyard, and a new public open space along Memorial Drive.

The 10 Akron Street project occupies a prominent location on the Charles River, at the corner of Memorial Drive and Akron Street and is one of a series of new residences for Harvard affiliates as well as low and moderate-income units built for local residents. Adjacent is Peabody Terrace Housing by Jose’ Luis Sert, with whom Woo studied and worked. Visible from across the Charles River, the simple and elegant design composition is a seamless extension of the campus, recalling the scale, massing and textures of Harvard’s traditional brick river houses, wood-frame neighborhood context, with references to Sert.

From the river side, the six-story brick block with glassy bay windows, is appropriately scaled to active Memorial Drive and the river. Along Banks Street, the siding on the low-rise wood-clad building refers to adjacent three-story wood frame houses and Peabody Terrace’s vertical concrete formwork. The massing composition of these two building elements forms a courtyard open toward the public open space, Harvard provided to the City of Cambridge. Together, the courtyard gesture and the park establish a contemporary and welcoming gateway to campus. The entry portal at 10 Akron Street frames an axial view of the Sert complex through the courtyard and the park, and a section of the building cantilevers dramatically over the outdoor deck to preserve sightlines from the community to the river at street level. Projecting bay windows create shade and shadow, animating the fa

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