Updated Wednesday 8 p.m. Shortly after Yale selected Robert A.M. Stern ARC ’65 to be the architect for its two new residential colleges, the School of Architecture dean said that the buildings he was going to design would “look like Yale colleges.”
He wasn’t kidding.
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Designs for the new colleges have not been unveiled to the public, but an artist commissioned by Stern’s architectural firm recently posted sketches of the project on his Web site. The pencil drawings show two colleges that will be built of brick with stone embellishments, will feature towers in various locations and, like all of Yale’s existing colleges, will be defined by their courtyards.
There will be no bridge linking the two colleges aboveground, as was once planned, but the new colleges will share a kitchen. The sketch of the south college’s dining hall shows a room that is a kind of hybrid of the eating spaces in Trumbull and Branford colleges, featuring Trumbull’s alcove eating area and Branford’s barrel vault ceiling.
Of course, the new colleges will be bigger than all of the ones designed by James Gamble Rogers 1889, because they will house students for all four years.
The new colleges seem to have less detailing than Yale’s existing colleges, which could be due either to cost-consciousness or incomplete renderings. But Stern’s colleges will clearly continue the tradition of having variously proportioned buildings; the renderings show that the colleges will sport soaring towers but will also include wings as low as two stories tall.
Stern has emphasized in recent interviews that the towers he is designing for the new colleges are crucial to the project, because they can serve as visual landmarks for the Prospect Street site, which some students have said is too far from the heart of campus.
The towers may also prove to be a useful fundraising tool. While naming rights for the colleges themselves will not be made available to donors, Yale’s wealthy alumni can pay for the names of towers, entryways, dining halls and even a walkway between the two colleges.
The renderings were drawn by Jeff Stikeman, whom Stern’s New York-based firm, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, hired for the project. Yale officials have shown some of the sketches — which Stikeman has now removed from his Web site — to top donors over the past month, Vice President for Development Inge Reichenbach said in a recent interview.
A University spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the authenticity of the sketches. But one of the donors who was shown the drawings confirmed that they matched what Yale officials had presented.
Since the announcement that Stern would design the colleges, there has been little doubt that the buildings would be of a traditional style. But the renderings do seem to reveal, once and for all, Yale’s plans to demolish the Seeley G. Mudd Library, built in 1982, and Hammond Hall, completed in 1904 and known primarily for its decorative, Beaux-Arts front.
Brewster Hall, home to the Political Science Department, will come down, too, though that is little surprise, given that Rosenkranz Hall, across Prospect Street from Brewster, is almost finished and has always been billed as a social sciences building.
And, while the economy had threatened to put planning for the colleges on hold, Stern’s firm will continue to flesh out its plans even further. Reichenbach said that a donor has provided funds to continue funding the design work for the new colleges even as planning for other University construction projects remains halted due to the recession.
But when the colleges will actually be built is another question. At its April meeting, the Yale Corporation reviewed plans for one, two and three year delays to the colleges, which were originally slated to open in 2013.
Click here to view a slideshow of the sketches.