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Holl Discusses Ideas For New Dormitory

By Zareena Hussain
Editor in chief

Steven Holl, the architect who will design the new undergraduate dormitory, came to campus Monday and presented his preliminary ideas for the dorm's design to administrators and students.

Sketches and plans for the overall design concept of the new dorm will be released on Feb. 26.

After having met with administrators in the morning, Holl "said he wanted to see students," said Jennifer C. Berk '01, chair of the Undergraduate Association Committee on Housing and Orientation.

Later that day, students who had expressed interest in the new dormitory through meetings in the fall were contacted. A total of ten students were present to meet with Holl.

"The main thing today is to hear from you," Holl told students before presenting his ideas.

One central theme of the new dorm, Holl proposed to students, would be the idea of "a porous map" so that dorms built along Vassar Street would not provide an opaque wall blocking off the campus from outlying areas in Cambridge. Instead, voids in the building's facade would give views out toward Cambridge from Briggs Field.

He also included in his presentation plans for "activating the street" through the construction of space for community activities on the first floor.

Holl said he wanted to preserve access to a river view for all rooms by raising the level of rooms to a minimum height.

The construction of paths along the borders of the athletic fields as well as a pathway from dormitories along Memorial Drive to the dormitory on Vassar Street was another suggestion.

Students expressed general approval of the plans at the informal gathering and added that they would like more study space and the ability to be able to customize individual rooms in any new dormitory.

Founder's Group named

The committee of faculty and students who will form a core group to advise Holl in the design and construction of the new dormitory was selected Wednesday, according to Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education Rosalind H. Williams.

Dubbed the Founder's Group, the committee consists of five faculty members and seven students.

They include Associate Provost for the Arts Alan Brody, Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures Suzanne Flynn, Professor of Architecture Loen R. Glicksman, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Linn W. Hobbes and Associate Professor in the Athletic Department Candace L. Royer.

The names of students to the committee were not released because not all had confirmed they would participate.

"The preference was for younger students," Williams said.

Williams said she hoped that the Founder's Group could "become a sort of magnet for the larger development of a community" to populate the new dorm.

Students were selected from lists compiled through people "in the fall who had explicitly expressed an interest in participating in the Founder's Group," Williams said.

In addition to this core group, "every student is invited to be part of the larger founder's group," Williams said, to advise the core group.