BBB’s design for Winthrop House, one of Harvard’s historic River Houses, combines a complete re-visioning of its residential, academic, and public spaces with comprehensive envelope and system upgrades as well as a 41-bed addition.
Winthrop House, comprised of two Neo-Georgian former freshman dormitory buildings from 1913, had undergone few upgrades since its construction. The renewal program re-envisioned Winthrop’s residential, academic, social, and co-curricular spaces and addresses technical challenges, including significant envelope upgrades, the installation of all-new mechanical systems, and detailed restoration work for the House’s signature public spaces. Amidst the sensitive context of Harvard’s River Houses, BBB also designed Robert M. Beren Hall, a distinctive 41-bed addition that includes shared amenities for undergraduates. Working with the House Renewal Project Management Office, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, the Faculty Deans, and students, BBB both re-conceived the traditional public spaces and created new amenities to provide flexibility and variety of use. The original Dining Hall, which is partially below grade, has been expanded to increase dining capacity as well as enlarge the courtyard terrace atop the new extension. New common rooms and student life spaces, such as a student-run café and a rooftop common room with dramatic views of the Charles River and the Harvard campus, support the Winthrop House community spirit. The project was estimated for 14 months in construction for the historic buildings and 20 months for the addition, but BBB’s work with the Construction Manager and Client enabled the team to complete the full project in 14 months and all buildings to open at the same time for the start of the Fall semester.