University nears decision on architect for new colleges

Less than a month after it officially embarked upon the addition of two new residential colleges, the University is close to choosing an architect for what will be Yale’s most prized commission in decades.

The selection will be announced within a month or so, University President Richard Levin said Sunday.

The Yale Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, approved the addition of two new residential colleges at its meeting earlier this month. Few other details were released at the time, however, with University officials saying that little would develop regarding the college project until the fall.

But in a wide-ranging interview with the News over the weekend, Levin shed new light on what is being discussed behind the scenes regarding the details of what will be Yale’s largest expansion since co-education — and what has already been decided.


The question of the architecture of the new colleges is the most obvious, and the most urgent. Levin said the University has been discussing possible architects for several months with the expectation of choosing an architect in the near future and announcing it sometime this summer. Unlike the case of Yale’s last major commission, the new School of Management campus, no design competition will be held; instead, the University will enlist an architect and then ask him to come back with plans for the new colleges several months later.

Levin would not comment on individual architects or say how many candidates remained under consideration.


In February, when he first endorsed plans for expansion, Levin suggested the new colleges would allow for the Yale College enrollment to increase by about 650 to 700 students, or 12 or 13 percent of the existing student body. But Levin said the Corporation has decided to make the colleges slightly larger, allowing for an increase of about 800 students, or roughly 15 percent of the existing student body.

The larger increase will make the two new colleges roughly the size, as far as enrollment is concerned, of the largest residential colleges today, rather than being somewhere in the middle, Levin said. They will have a combined enrollment of approximately 935 students, with the existing 12 colleges decreasing in size by about 135 students overall in order to eliminate — or at least significantly reduce — overcrowding and the annexing of upperclassmen.

The move to increase the size of the new colleges comes as something of a surprise, however, because among students’ chief complaints about the proposed expansion has been that it might shatter Yale’s sense of intimacy — and further enlarging the scope of the expansion does not exactly work to pacify those concerns.


As for naming the new colleges, Levin said an announcement would likely be made in the fall semester as to how the University will solicit ideas for possible names, although he emphasized that no details had been finalized and it was not yet certain when the Corporation would seek to make a final decision on the question of naming.

Levin has promised that the community will be able to suggest names for the new colleges. In keeping with tradition, the colleges will not be named for living donors.

The ‘third building’

The much-discussed third building to be built alongside the colleges behind the Grove Street Cemetery is a continuing source of discussion — and could morph into several buildings.

Levin said the residential-college site is planned to include an undergraduate theater of some sort; classroom space; and a new building for the Sociology Department, whose current home will be razed to make way for the new colleges. Exactly how those different elements will fit into the so-called “Prospect-Sachem Triangle” — and whether they will comprise one building, two or three — is still an open question, Levin said. In addition, a new academic building may be built on the other side of Prospect Street adjacent to Rosenkranz Hall, the new Political Science Department building under construction, he said.

The Sociology Department was believed to be the last remaining department facing impending homelessness because of the residential-college expansion. With its new home secured, it appears that the University has now secured future locations for all of the department and offices that will be displaced by the new colleges — an essential task that can now be crossed off the 14-college checklist.

The timeframe

Levin said the plan is to admit students into the new colleges beginning with the freshman class that enters in the fall of 2012; those students will live in Swing Space for their freshman year. In the fall of 2013, when the new colleges open, they will house those students and a new round of freshmen. Upperclassmen will be able to enter a lottery to transfer into the new colleges, as was done when Whitman College opened at Princeton last year, Levin said.

Previous News coverage of Yale’s path to fourteen colleges:


  • Anonymous

    President Levin is just not an honest person. He's changed his mine about the size of the colleges -- to the detriment of Yale's undergraduate community -- what else will he change his mind about? Do we really have any certainty that annexing will be eliminated by the colleges?

    I think not.

  • Anonymous


  • Recent Alum

    How about Bush College? When a single family of Yale alumni produces two U.S. Presidents, one would think that this would be worth recognizing and honoring. This would also be in line with Yale's tradition of naming colleges after respected statesmen.

  • Anon.

    Because no one regrets naming a college after John C. Calhoun.

  • Anonymous

    Norman Foster!

  • Hieronymus

    Bravo, Levin!

    Just one more thing: after razing Sociology, could you maybe just…"forget" to resurrect it?

    Ah, well: I can dream, can't I?

    In any case: great initiative (I have my fingers crossed on the architecture… could go either way…). Mebbe get a few more math/science/engineering majors in there?

  • Therodore Franklin Roosevelt IV ('14)

    Naming one "Clinton College" and the other "Bush College" would bypass all the partisan baloney while honoring the fact that Yale lately has been on an amazing presidential role. Of course, Clinton has no Yale COLLEGE connection, so maybe it's better to name Swingspace after him and maybe Hillary once it becomes Law School housing (as is planned). Naming one college "George Bush College" would honor two Yale alum presidents in the same way "Timothy Dwight College" honors two Yale presidents, while simultaneously helping Bush haters deal with their anger by giving them something on which to focus their psychiatric therapy sessions - a classic "win/win" transaction. The other college could be named "Summers-Faust College" for obvious reasons.

  • Ken McKenna

    Collegiate gothic or "Georgian" (Silliman's brick is French Renassaince, but whatever) would be mistakes. The style of the new colleges should be updated traditional and in keeping with the neighborhood and not excesively expensive. Several architects had styles that come to mind:

    H.H. Richardson ("Romanesque")

    Late Bertram Goodhue ("Simplified Classical")

    Late Edwin Lutyens ("Neo-byzantine" - after Liverpool’s unbuilt cathedral)

  • Anonymous

    Damn, #3. At least #2 is unambiguously joking.

  • Andrew

    Why would there be no competition for such a major building project? I heard that Levin and the board have already chose Dean Robert Stern to design the colleges.

    An unfortunate choice, if you ask me. A noted architectural historian, effective dean, and commercially successful architect (see 55 Central Park West), Stern is NOT a major design influence. His designs are largely traditional and lack innovation--a shame for a university with an unprecedented legacy of excellent postwar architecture.

    Levin owes it to the Yale community and the architectural integrity of this campus to be more candid about the architect selection process. Yale deserves a daring architect--Hadid, for instance, or Nouvel, Mayne, or even Holl.

  • Anonymous

    Why not Brewster and Griswold Colleges? Honor two of Yale's greatest presidents…

  • Anonymous

    I would not be surprised if, within a century, there is a Bush College. Seriously. Time heals all wounds.

  • Anonymous

    Would it be too much to have a Harkness Tower and a Harkness College?

  • Anonymous

    I know this won't get much attention, but it would REALLY SUCK to spend freshman year in Swing Space. Terrible idea.

  • MC '07

    I think it's safe to say that "innovation" is an overrated element of residential architecture. Ask nearly a half-century worth of Morse and Stiles residents.

  • Anonymous

    I don't understand why the university should cut corners on the architecture or the construction. The assumption is that these buildings are going to be around for hundreds of years. The university has far more money now than it did when the original colleges were built--build them them to last and don't skimp on the architecture or the materials.

    The university has made clear that they intend to go with traditional architecture (and I have to agree that the smart money is on Robert Stern being the architect chosen). I think that's unfortunate, but if that's the case they should at least be true to the eclecticism of the rest of the Yale campus and not build the colleges in any single style--Silliman is great example of a college that's traditional but reflects the variety of traditional styles found throughout the campus.

  • Anonymous

    Steven Holl would be great.

    Stern, however, is an incredible dean and deserves the chance to leave his mark on Yale. While hardly innovative, his colleges would probably be the most pleasing to the general Yale population.

    But still.. Steven Holl for the "third building."

  • joey

    Please consider excellent Architect and former resident of the Worthington Hooker area.A Yale Grad

  • Anonymous

    daring= morse and stiles.

    no thank you.

  • Anonymous

    The method of phasing in the new colleges is probably the worse idea of the entire project. It's certainly reasonable enough for the freshmen of the two colleges to be housed in Swing. After all, a few years back, the freshmen from two colleges (I think Berkeley and Stiles) were housed in Swing while Vanderbilt was being renovated.

    However, the idea that upperclassmen would enter a lottery to switch into these new colleges is ridiculous. There will be no true lottery. I would be willing to bet that they won't find enough upperclassmen who want to move up the Hill. And if they do, it will be full of science majors that want to move to a new colleges just to be close to classes. Now, if the colleges were located in a more central location, students looking to move with friend groups off campus may consider the new colleges, but the only thing the colleges have going for them is the fact they're close to science labs. They're both far away from every other amenity that New Haven and Yale has to offer.

  • J V

    I think one of the colleges should be named Gibbs College, after Josiah Willard Gibbs, who was quite possibly one of the most brilliant scholars Yale has had the honor of having and one of the most important contributors to the practice of science and engineering. Naming a college after him would not only honor the new and coming initiatives in the sciences of the future, but also bring an honor to one of the greatest minds of the past.
    Life today would be nowhere the same without the contributions of Josiah Willard Gibbs.

  • Anonymous

    These new colleges are not analogous to Whitman at all as far as the entrance rotation is concerned. Princeton does not have a strong residential college system; Yale does. No one -- except for the nerdiest of science students -- will want to move in at the start. This means the new colleges will begin as a social nightmare and may not lose that reputation very quickly.

  • Anonymous

    Look Betts,
    You can do 3 or even 4 new smaller colleges for students rightfully wanting to retain scholarly community.

  • Hieronymus

    I'm with posters 8 & 15… "Innovation" gets you the A&A building, IMO the worst monstrosity on campus and a continuing detrimental influence on "modern" architecture.

    The poster who said "updated collegiate" (or whatever) is closer to what STUDENTS might like.

    Too bad about SOM's dining hall: a hidden gem on campus. Would be nice if somehow that could be retained (perhaps the new colleges could have some sort of alpine chalet theme; I have seen successful LARGE structures that somehow managed to be intimate and even quaint in that vein).

    Generally I am pretty down on whatever Yale is putting out; renovation and rehabilitation is one area that Yale's master planner (what's her name? She's awesome!) really is…conservative, and conservative in the best sense: she seeks to RESTORE Yale, to undo years of neglect and damage (gawd the seventies were rough on Yale).

    I am cautiously optimistic that if the rehab program is in line with Levin's thinking, then the new colleges will turn out just fine.

  • '11

    I don't care about the location. I would transfer to a $600 million college in a heartbeat. It will be ridiculous. People think Silliman has nice amenities, but wait until these two colleges are built. To put it to scale, Whitman's project took a mere $136 million. Yale will have plenty of money to transform the surrounding landscape and change it into a social hubbub (anyways, I hope they will).

  • alum

    Anonymous, upperclassmen will move in once they see how nice the rooms are going to be. It's going to be like the Vanderbilt Suite on Old Campus x 800 rooms. (If not, I will sever my affiliation with the University)

  • Anonymous

    I am in Silliman and lived in Swing Space as a freshman. The experience was tolerable only because there were hundreds of upperclassman to encourage college spirit by example and to tell us what a great college we had to look forward to. Freshmen in the new colleges will not have that.

    #20 is absolutely right about the lottery. What's more, those upperclassmen that do choose to enter will do so for the facilities and location of the colleges and not for any sense of allegiance. If that's the culture of the upperclassmen, it's going to take a long time for Swensen and Bush College spirit to get off the groud.

  • Silliman 2010


    Freshman year in Swing is not such a bad thing. In fact, I couldn't imagine a better year to be there. The hallway arrangement, while not classic Yale, did allow we to get to know my fellow '10ers much better and create a greater sense of community. Worry not.

    As for the phase in, I agree that it will be troublesome, but not to the degree others are implying.

    People who will move:

    1. Groups of friends — note, they already move off-campus in that direction often, or down Whitney, so why not to a new college.

    2. Juniors or Sophomores who expect to get a bad pick in the housing draw.

    3. Seniors who are tired of Yale's cloistered gated community, and would like the chance to live somewhere resembling New Haven.

    4. People drawn by new accomodations, immediate access to the new gym, the new movie theatre, etc.

    5. And yes, science students.

    Above all, anyone still at Yale by 2012 still hasn't arrived — they are today's freshman, and they have known about the expansion even as they applied. They don't have the same feelings those of us here currently do, and especially the sophomores and juniors in that move in year — they will perhaps have picked Yale BECAUSE it is expanding.

    If I'm a high school student right now (if you actually are, you should be commenting here!) I am not concerned about the expansion — I'm elated that Yale is accepting more students and hopefully driving up its abominably low acceptance rate.


  • Andrew

    #17--Being an incredible dead does not grant you the "privilege" to "leave a mark" on the Yale campus.

    Stern's many academic buildings on other campuses are pleasing but undistinguished. Yale has a superb architectural legacy, and some generic "American college campus"-style brick buildings will just not stack up with Yale's architecture.

    At the very least, the university should be more candid and open about the goals of the corporation in choosing an architect (and a style) and the process used to make a decision.

  • Hieronymus

    Who cares who "chooses" to live there: it will be irrelevant once the first freshman class reaches seniority, i.e., three years, a mere pip in Yaletime…

    And, yes, LOTS of juniors (and others screwed in room draw) will likely transfer… and lots of sophomores who, for whatever reason, dislike there college. And science majors. So, really, I suspect the only functional dearth will be among seniors, and that will quickly correct itself.

    And I appreciate the poster trying to start a grassroots trend by referring to the (at least one of the) new entities as Swensen College…

  • JE 2011

    I wouldn't count on driving up it's acceptance rate too much. If application numbers and yield rate stay the same in 2012, then Yale will accept about 1.3% more applicants (about 290 more accepted, assuming a yield of 69%).

    However, I suspect that, if the expansion is well advertised for the h.s. class of 2012, applications will soar that year, and the acceptance rate will stay about the same.

    anyone agree?

  • Branford 10

    I know he's not a Yalie, but if Barack Obama is elected President, I think a college should be named after him for his ability to cut through the partisan divide and offer America a spiritual redemption and metaphysical renewal through changing the failed policies of old and promoting the overwhelming audacity of hope.

    And everyone would be pumped to live in Obama College!

  • Anonymous

    A la the Facebook groupies, the other college could be Hussein College.

  • Hieronymus

    @29: while I agree that new buildings should be more than "Collegiate Generic," I would point out that not all Yale's architecture is so great. Morse and Stiles (sorry!) engender endless complaints (and will be reformulated soon enough--fewer singles, more suites); A&A is just a horror (although ITS re-do might help too), and Luce Hall looks like an off-the-shelf IKEA product.

    What has worked? D'port (Gothic on the outside, Georgian in the middle). The ASTOUNDING rehab of CCL (seriously--if you don't know how it was you have NO idea how it is!), SOM… So, Yale *can* do great things. And Yale *can* make crap. Pleasing need not be boring, but neither does "avant garde" equal desirable. One can have both (I, for one, rather enjoy the Toontowniness of MIT's Stata Center, although I understand there are certain technical difficulties…).

    We shall see.

  • Anonymous


    *shudder* you must be joking

  • The White Rabbit


    "Barack Obama [has an] ability to cut through the partisan divide and offer America a spiritual redemption and metaphysical renewal?"

    Take another long hard look, #32. Barack Obama is a divisive, manipulative Chicago machine politician surrounded by corrupt cronies and whose father's family is the kind of third-world ruling class kleptocrats that lots of immigrants come to the US to GET AWAY FROM. My family did. At the moment Obama is also desperately trying to be or at least appear utterly unprincipled and incompetent. His parents were brought together by a Selma march that happened years after his birth? The departed head of his vice president search team didn't really work for him? Eric Holder, a current member of that team, didn't ease the scandalous Marc Rich pardons through the Clinton White House? He's visited 57 states? He didn't know that pastor he worshipped with for years is a hateful, anti-American, antisemetic bigot? Arkansas is closer to Kentucky than Illinois is? A Kansas tornado killed 10,000 people? Wesley Clark wasn't working with Obama when Clark savaged McCain's military record? Etc, etc, etc.

    Spiritual redemption and metaphysical renewal? You've GOT to stop eating so many mushrooms. Really. It's for your own good. At least Jimmy Carter limited himself to lust in his heart and selling aflatoxins. Obama, Carter's second coming, knows no such limits.

  • Ryan

    Please no gothic!! Princeton's fiasco with Whitman College has proven that nobody alive today can effectively design beautiful, convincing, and authentic gothic. Polphyrios, the architect of Whitman (and a professor at Yale School of Architecture) is just about the best historicist in the business today - if he can't get it right at Princeton (and he didn't!!!), then no one can.

    Also, Georgian and Colonial would be kind of boring.

  • Alum '04

    I think Yale's done quite well with innovative architecture in the past. Eero Saarinen has had a tremendous impression on Yale's campus--even if you don't like Morse and Stiles (though I have to say I think they're pretty fabulous, if due for a rehab), you have to admit that the Whale is an iconic Yale building.

    I'd love to see Yale take a bit of a chance with the colleges. I realize this is unlikely, as they're facing significant challenges with perception and want the new buildings to fit seamlessly into the fabric of the Yale aesthetic. But what makes Yale so architecturally wonderful, in my eyes, is its diversity (just think of the walk through Woolsey Hall, past the Beinecke, and into SML--beautiful, challenging, and interesting).

    Perhaps tastes have changed in the few years since I've been an undergrad, but if I were assigned to a college that felt quite far away from the rest of the undergrad residential life, I'd much rather live in a building that was distinctive, that had generated a lot of buzz, that had its own identity, than a building that looked like a replica of one of the older residential colleges or of Bass.

    I mean, look at all the positive press and the draw of the new buildings for the Olympic games. New doesn't have to mean brutalist (which seems to be unpopular on this board) or ugly--it can be beautiful too.

  • Anonymous

    To readers,
    Keep the comments coming! Excerpts will be compiled at the end of the week and sent to President Levin and University Planner Laura Cruickshank.
    Sincerely, Andrew Mangino, Editor in Chief

  • Anonymous

    Two things:

    1) The buildings should be built in a traditional style. People may want to go to classes in contemporary buildings, but nobody wants to live in one. (See: Colleges, Morse and Stiles.)

    2) Whatever else you think of him, Robert Stern is certainly an excellent interpreter of historic buildings and knows Yale's campus as well as anyone. If you want relatively traditional architecture, he is -- put simply -- the best.

  • Anonymous

    Those who don't admire Georgian architecture should note that Yale's tradition outside of the Central Campus is, indeed, Georgian. Look at Pierson, Davenport, TD, Sterling Divinity Quadrangle, etc.

    And, not for nothing, the New England and Connecticut architectural traditions are in many ways Georgian. Look at Connecticut Hall (an exact copy of the earlier Massachusetts Hall at Harvard).

  • Anonymous

    Whitman may not be the *best* example of traditional architecture, but it *is* a testament to the fact that students want to live in traditional dorms. YDN itself had an article that touched on this.

  • Anonymous

    I really can't figure out how Yale should fill these new colleges. Putting freshmen in Swing Space seems like a bad idea; having upperclassmen choose to move seems like a bad idea. Any suggestions?

  • Hieronymus

    Cruickshank, THAT'S it! Add her to the Yale pantheon, joining Swensen as a modern savior and crusader ('scuse me: "non-denominational conservative interlocutor"). Both of them are working to undo decades of neglect (Swensen undoing years of "deferred maintenance" and destructive overspending; Cruickshank, the fashion crimes of the '70s).

    While I do not agree with everything (or even most) of what Levin allows to occur, he certainly has a knack for finding, in certain areas, JUST the right people…

  • Anonymous

    Yale's tradition is Georgian on the Old Campus, too -- and not just at Connecticut Hall. The Old Brick Row; need I say more. Hardly bold buildings.

  • Anonymous

    Cruickshank has only been at Yale for a few years. Her predecessor, Pamela Delphenich, put all the plans into action and is (like all good administrators) now at MIT.

  • LAXer

    @46: No, SOME go to Duke! Oh, wait…my bad, we didn't get any GOOD ones…

  • Y11

    It's been made pretty clear building another Branford or Saybrook would be nearly impossible these days, but in spite of whatever disaster happened with Princeton (a botched new college?) I'd still like the two new colleges to be as gothic as possible. Maybe not to the point of an acid pour-on like Harkness, but similar to any of the central colleges (SY, BR, TB, CC, etc) would be great.

    As for the names, one absolutely must be Kingman/Brewster/Kingman Brewster College. That man got Yale through its hardest eras (60s and 70s) with more grace than any of his contemporaries. If not for his composure dealing with the issues of that time, Yale would not have emerged the power it remains today.

    He found a way to balance Yale's pedigree, history and traditionalism with modern progression and did it wonderfully. Given this is Yale's first major physical expansion since the 1930s construction of the college system, that goal remains a priority… therefore the naming should reflect the man who got it right last time.

  • Davenport = Best

    Why not name one of the colleges after William F. Buckley? Buckley, a D'port alumnus, was the godfather of modern conservatism and deserves to be noted…

    Moreover, Edward Stephen Harkness, another alum, was one of the greatest philanthropists in the past century…

    Why not Harkness and Buckley colleges?

    BTW, I'm pretty perturbed that Levin decided he could get away with changing the size of the new colleges….

  • Alum

    While I was in Berkeley and loved it (even in its shabbier pre-renovation state), I've always admired the designs of Stiles and Morse and think most of the criticism of them is misguided. They are quite beautiful buildings, actually. The walk between them, leading to a view of Paine Whitney, is one of my favorite spots at Yale. They suffered from severe cost limitations when built and neglect since, including (especially) the discontinuation of the heating system that radiated heat through the floor tiles. I haven't seen any plans, but we can hope that the planned renovation will restore the heating system and provide those two colleges with amenities equal to those of other Yale colleges, along with providing suites rather than mainly singles.

    In terms of the new colleges, I hope Yale hires an architect with the talent of a James Gamble Rogers and an Eero Saarinen, who will study what Rogers and Saarinen designed and take the best of it and then gives the architect the resources to create something beautiful, functional, quirky and inspiring.

    Gothic and Georgian have been done and done beautifully; the Tuscan Village inspiration for Stiles and Morse is also wonderful, if suffering from the cost restraints imposed fifty years ago. If we're lobbing in style suggestions, I'd suggest visiting the Old City in Jaffa. Its architectural style pre-dates Gothic but would work wonderfully, if Yale could afford it. And Yale's architect could look further afield for inspiration, as well, reflecting Yale's increasing international scope. Yale has a strong (if controversial) connection with Machu Picchu; Yale's namesake obtained his riches from India; and Yale has a long, on-going and growing tie to China. All might provide inspiration for something that will serve Yale wonderfully for the ages.

  • JE2010

    I definitely support the naming of a William F. Buckley college. He is the father of the modern conservative movement in America and was a true Yale Man.

  • Nic

    I have a moral objection to building a historic looking building in the present day. We should build something that is the greatest our time can offer rather than simply a recreation (or mocking, if it's not done right) of the past. I might sound a little like Howard Roarke here (and I hate Ayn Rand) but I think it makes sense. Yale needs to come off this terrible series of recent architectural disasters (the Kieran Timberlake Sculpture Building and Charles Gwathmey's obscene addition to the A&A come to mind) and build something new with the best our generation has to offer. Don't let a distaste for Morse & Stiles (they really aren't so good…) spoil a great opportunity.

    But if my call is not heeded and my morals need to be compromised… I would much prefer gothic over georgian. Georgian is just so bland and wimpy.

  • Y03

    I vote for a Gibbs College in Richardsonian Romanesque.

  • E-lies

    #52, Buckley is completely undeserving. Just because someone is powerful and started a movement doesn't make them great. Buckley was a brilliant fear-monger. Sure, he repented at times, late in his life, but when it counted, amidst McCarthyism and the Civil Rights movement and gay rights, he was always on the wrong side. These posts to him are so sickeningly obsequious. At least admit who he was! And now you have Rush Limbaugh: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. And this son get paid, $400 million, and eight years, all for hate.

    We reap what we sow. Just no colleges after him.

  • The Contrarian

    Hire Quinlan Terry, our greatest living architect.

  • Anonymous

    The YDN should publish a poll on what style of architecture people like the most. Though, I think the results would be overwhelmingly in favor of a gothic-Branfordesque style building. Yale is nothing else is a ticket to an educational fantasy. Branford in many ways embodies that fantasy. It is why many of my friends envy my random placement. Students in a gothic college feel very much a part of the Yale tradition. A gothic style would be a sure-fire way to psychologically integrate the colleges with the school. I am not afraid of a Whitman 2.0, Yale is going to spend almost twice as much on each individual college. Specially, it is vital that the colleges have large courtyards. A single large courtyard is far more effective at bonding a college class -- people can play frisbee and sunbath with space in the comfort of their own college. It's a quality that adds greatly to the unity in Branford, Silliman, TD, Pierson, and Davenport.

  • MCh8tr

    Please stop defending Morse and Stiles. They are terrible places to live. The combination of dark wood and small windows make for a very dark life from November-March. The sloped courtyards prevent any activity besides sunbathing, and the complete lack of basement amenities means that you always have to sneak into other colleges. The new renovations will do little to improve these core flaws. The basement will be expanded (and finally made marginally comparable to other colleges) but the worst features about the colleges (windows, sloped courtyards, all singles in the towers) will remain. Both colleges are a disgrace to Yale and Saarinen and should be knocked down.

  • Josh

    I really loved living in Stiles. It sure needed renovation and could have used more amenities (and the windows could have been bigger) but it was really cool to be somewhere that was a little more interesting than the generic gothic-georgian prevailing on the rest of campus. That said, I really don't think Saarinen is a particularly great architect (at least in comparison to other greats of the 20th Century like Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, or Paul Rudolph).

    The new colleges, be them gothic, georgian, contemporary, whatever, do need to have great, usable gathering spaces both inside and out - reasons to keep people happy within their colleges rather than having them only be places where they shower and sleep.

    I also wish people would stop talking about architecture as 'styles'. Good architecture is a product of an embodiment of the ideals and capabilities at at certain point in time. As such, each true work of architecture is an embodiment of history - and it is not possible to choose your history as you would your breakfast cereal. Do we really want to turn Yale into Disneyland as Princeton has to themselves with the Whitman College fiasco?

    But if we do it contemporary, we have to do it right. Everything that's been built on this campus in the last 40 years is quite terrible. There's plenty of great architects out there today. We just need to have the guts to hire them and fund them well.

  • Brewster College

    #57 is the problem with commenting on this stupid Web site. You must not be in Morse or Stiles, because if you were, you would have seen the renovation plans when they were shown to the colleges last year……and you would have known that virtually everything you said is simply factually incorrect.

    The singles are gone. The basement will be equivalent to Pierson/Davenport, if not the largest of any of the colleges in terms of amenities. The renovation, by everyone's account, is going to be spectacular.

    (#57, not Saarinen, is a disgrace, IMHO.)

  • A thought

    It would be nice to name a college after a woman or someone from a race other than white.

    But pleeeease not Obama…

  • Anonymous

    @ #53 I would completely agree, since Richardsonian Romanesque seems to be a blend of old and new. Also, it would be appropriate to Gibbs' time and would rightfully honor him. As I've mentioned before, I think Gibbs would be the most appropriate name for a college as it would honor both Yale and the profound impact Yale scholars have had in the practice of science.

    Just a thought to add in. The fact that Yale has added flavor to their building style should more than show that the University is committed to adding personality into students' residential communities. If you don't believe me, just look at Harvard housing. They have the same, dull look everywhere on their campus and their dorms are in much worse conditions than the dorms that have yet to be renovated. Yale's got our backs, no need to worry!

  • Hieronymus

    It would be "nice"? "Nice" to name a college after a woman (just…ANY woman?) or someone from a race other than white (the "white race"; wow--I haven't heard that term for a while).

    So inelegant a suggestion, but let me entertain the thought--and this is a serious question: could you please float some women or some others "from a race other than white" that are:
    Graduates of Yale College;
    Preeminent and prominent in their fields (to the level of, say, a Calhoun or a Silliman); OR
    A huge donor; and

    [Ed. note: I was going to start off the discussion with some suggestions but, after some cursory googling, I cannot find any well-known alumnae or "other than white" Yale College alumni that fully fit the bill--especially the dead part If you want to stretch things, there is Morgan Wright or Edward Bouchet--sorry, no women as of yet… But I am willing to hear YOUR suggestions!]

  • Hieronymus

    I stand corrected: not all colleges are named after alumni. Outside of those named for towns:
    BERKELEY was a BENEFACTOR (Swensen? Biggest benefactor Yale has ever known!)
    TRUMBULL was a mere HONORARY LLD (oh, and first guv; has CT had a woman guv?).
    PIERSON was a CANTAB, but he really didn't have much choice back then, being a founder of the Collegiate School and all…
    DAVENPORT? No excuses; indeed, the college should be RE-NAMED…Founder of New Haven? Bah! CALHOUN, too.

    So, looks like the only req is…dead, and who knows? Maybe Yale will waive that, too…

  • More thinking

    If you waive the "dead" rule, Maya Lin fits both categories. And "Maya Lin College" has a nice sound to it.

    Another good person to name a college for would be William Sloane Coffin. Naming one after Buckley and one after Coffin might be clever. But "Coffin College" might sound a bit morbid…

  • Alex

    Name it after a woman if there is one who is qualified (and I bet there is!). Don't name it after someone just because she is a woman. We don't need affirmative action for our college names.

  • Alum

    #63, are you serious? (I honestly can't tell). Because CT's current governor is a woman.

  • @62/63

    I was thinking the same thing. There haven't been any non-male, non-white figures in Yale history that fit the aforementioned bill (laid out by Hieronymus) for these colleges… sorry, but that's just how it is. If the school goes out of its way to get some diversity in the college titles while more deserving names like Brewster and Swensen go unhonored, we'll have reached a new level of ridiculousness.

  • Hieronymus

    How about:
    James Pennington
    Helen Parkhurst

  • Anonymous

    Well, if it can't be named after any women because they're not dead yet, then it can't be named after Swensen either…

    I agree that to name a college for someone who doesn't deserve it is ridiculous. But to assert that there are NO women or non-whites who deserve it is equally ridiculous. It's just an assumption that people make because white-and-maleness is still next to godliness in our society.

  • Anonymous

    I just want to remind people that Yale didn't accept women to the college until the late 60's, so it should not come as a surprise that there are very few famous dead female Yale College alumni.

  • Alum

    How about Amistad College? It involved a critical case relating to slavery, in New Haven, with Yale graduates prominently involved. And it means 'friendship.'

  • Hieronymus

    Wow… ppl sometimes think *I* have a chip on my shoulder, but #69 is downright delusional!

    Lessee: dem fight was between Hill and the Big O… yup yup, godliness everywhere…

    I do not think anyone was asserting that "NO women or non-whites" 'deserve it' (and how does one "deserve" a college?); you are getting a bit shrill.

    BTW: I believe Mr. Yale was still alive when the Collegiate School took his name, so: who KNOWS what the "rules" are (I suspect the "dead" rule precludes having to re-name a college if, say, the one so honored spends his/her remaining years producing embarrassment (Lindbergh?).

    In any case: rather than screeching about the HOPELESS INEQUITY of it all, and the gross patriarchal androphilic heteroaormativity displayed by posters, why not SUGGEST SOME NAMES that fit your required world view? Heck, I coughed up THREE!

  • MyTwoCents

    Here here for Quinlan Terry- his work at Downing Cambridge is beautiful.

    #3 is mistaken- only one of the current colleges (Calhoun) is named for a statesman, and he wasn't very distinguished at that.

  • CALHOUN 4eva

    Just want to venture the guess that the person who wrote the suggestion to name a College after Obama was Jacob Koch (Mangino- if you don't want to publish this part, cut it out but allow me to say what I want below)

    This is once again an example of Levin straight-up ignoring what students want. Noone wants the new colleges to be built and people want them to be large even less. Add that to the fact that in the forums on the new residential colleges, everyone I heard said that the freshman should live on Old Campus for freshman year so that at least they could meet other people in their class rather than segregated millions of miles away up science hill. This isn't too difficult considering McClellan would be empty if annexing stopped, aparrently one of the goals of building the new colleges in the first place.

  • Josh

    Now for the bigger question: can we do something about the cemetery in the way?

    At the very least, a well-lit, cop-guarded path along prospect? Widen the sidewalk, make Prospect less wide, then it will actually feel like an extension of campus rather than a satellite location.

  • Hieronymus

    University research shows that:
    80% of those who did Old Campus frosh year wouldn't have it any other way; AND
    80% of SM &TD'ers (who live w/upperclassmen freshman year)…wouldn't have it any other way; SO

    Don't worry about the Old Campus argument; OC was always over-rated…really.

    Cemetary questions are more valid; personally, I think the graves need more protection from Yalies than the other way around. Again, details, details.

  • Go Astro!

    1. E. Dorrit Hoffleit, research astronomer 1956-75, then kept working here at Yale until her death, last spring, at 100. (She did start at Radcliffe/Harvard, but …) Edited catalogue of all bright stars.

    2. Ida Barney, born New Haven, CT, PhD, Yale Univeristy, 1911, Yale University Observatory research assisstant 1922-49!

  • Noah

    A good architect please! No Gothic!!!! No colonial!!!

  • Hieronymus

    I'm hip w/the astro crowd: turns out that LOTS of astronomical innovations derived from over-qualified female PhDs stuck in the observatory basement/archives/bowels carrying out careful, meticulous research. WELL worth researching!

  • jdoe

    lets get Sir Norman Foster downtown! tradition has been savored in New Haven, lets add to the environment with progressive expressions of today…please no Gehry

  • 70s female alum

    BREWSTER after the true father of modern Yale, even if he was a wasp. Without him Yale could still be in the nineteenth century.
    GIAMATTI who started all the refurbishing and was the epitome of brilliant scholar/engaging teacher/no nonsense administrator/devoted baseball fan. It would be so cool to have a collage that had an ethnic name!

  • famous seamus

    How much more (Native)American woman does it get than Kateri Tekawitha?
    Note: A legendary North American success story….(i.e. pre-Betty Freidan)

  • Um…

    Yo, Seamus (#82):
    wasn't she, like, from NY…and dinna she die, you know, in, like, 1680…in Canada?

    Not quite gettin' the Yale connexion, bro.

  • Joe Doyle

    Building the new colleges in a style like that of Bertram Goodhue would be especially fitting since he was the original architect chosen to build Sterling Memorial Library. Goodhue died before he completed more than his original sketches and James Gamble Rogers made significant changes to what Goodhue had proposed. But the basic structure of SML is derived from Goodhue's proposal.

    Just for the record, Goodhue designed exactly one building that was actually built for Yale: Wolf's Head Society. A mighty cool structure, in my opinion.

  • Exile of JE

    Cassius Clay '32
    - BEST CHOICE - not only has the inspirational power of this name already been tested (it fueled the drive in Cassius Clay Sr. to raise an boxing champion and inspired Cassius Clay Jr. to abandon his name), but it also celebrates one of the unsung heroes of Yale.

    Clay, an undergrad from KY, became an abolitionist AT YALE when he heard WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON speak on campus. that is a Yale story that needs to be immortalized in bricks and mortar. way better story than all those grand crusaders for the privileged.

    abbreviated resume: Kentucky state legislator who endured death threats for his anti-slavery stands; Mexican War veteran; Minister to Russsia 1861-1862,1863-1869; influential Republican colleague of Lincoln who pressed for the signing of the Emancipation Procalamation

    Really, how is there not already a college named for him (in fact, to my knwoledge, nothing on the campus bears his name)?

    Samuel Hopkins '41 - the arch-abolitionist and rival of Ezra Stiles would create a great instant rivalry (ok maybe not) and help compensate for the

    also good ideas:



    Coffin - '49 former CIA agent, respected clergyman and Yale chaplain, political activist

    White - after Hon. Byron Whizzer White YLS '46)

    Stewart (after Hon. Potter Stewart '37 YLS '41 - comes with a motto "I know it when I see it")

  • TDer

    If you're looking for college names, what about Edward Bouchet? that name kills two birds with one stone: you have the first black grad from Yale AND the first black physics PhD in America. It honors an accomplished black alum and New Haven native (no small thing given the university's strained relations with a city that's mostly black), and it emphasizes the sciences at Yale, one of the big reasons they chose to put the colleges on Science Hill in the first place.

  • MorePeople

    just want to disagree with #74; i've heard plenty of people say they feel Yale is too small, and would like it to be bigger. 800 more students = an opportunity to meet a few more new people everyday.

  • Anonymous

    While Richardsonian Romanesque would be a really nice addition to Yale's architectural vocabulary, (the only current really classic example is the musical instrument collection building on hillhouse) Richardsonian Romanesque colleges would be extremely costly to build. The very large stonework involved in properly executing the style would make the colleges even more expensive and likely would also result in small windows, not a favorite feature of Morse and Stiles.

  • Joe Doyle

    I think the idea is to "update" Richardson Romanesque, which would simultaneously reduce its costs and address the window issue. The large true masonry walls he used would presumably become stone facing over steel. Stone and brick facing is much less expensive than it used to be (say, in the 1970's), as can be seen in the wide use of stone in commerical structure and residential countertops. Many of Yale's gothic buildings such as Sterling Library already follow that path (but not Harkness Tower, which really is masonry). It's not hard to include large windows in Richardson Romanesque - it'sd a pretty flexible, even whimsical, style. That was done even during Richardson's lifetime and by his successor firm. For that matter, true residential gothic buildings usually had small windows (medieval people didn't live in cathedrals), which didn't stand in the way of James Gamble Rogers! Yes, Richardsonian Romanesque is underrepresented on Yale's campus, which is part of the charm of the idea of doing the new colleges in that style. The point (as I see it) would be that Richardsonian Romanesque would be traditional and consistent with the Yale campus without being just more of what's already here.

  • Charybdis

    Hmm -- adapted Richardsonian Romanesque might work. It would certainly harmonize with the brick/brownstone architecture on Science Hill. But I don't think I've seen convincing new Richardsonian work, and badly done RR could be truly grim.

    I'm really hoping that Rick doesn't pick R.A.M. Stern. Stern's heart is in the right place, but I don't think he has the finesse to pull off convincing colleges -- he has no feeling for texture and detail, and his sense of proportion is often wonky (although his shingle style things -- where wonky proportion is part of the look -- are fine).

  • lala

    It's got to be a GREEN college- think super sustainable. solar panels and wind towers on the roof!

  • Sylla

    Actually, when you look at some of Richardson's own designs like the Ames Free Library and others (he did many libraries) have quite big windows, lots of light and lots of spectacular ideas for dining halls, libraries, common rooms and other public rooms - and a Richardson Romanesque residential courtyard could be especially amazing. Check out these links: