New architectural renderings of Lowell House released by the University on Wednesday offer a glimpse of plans for the home’s renovation, including a new common area for students, a screening room, a mix of hallways and en-suite bathrooms and new decorative elements.
Lowell will be the fifth house in the Faculty of Arts and Science’s more than $1 billion renovation project to renovate upperclass residence halls. Work will begin this summer and should be completed in fall 2019.
The north wing of the complex will be renamed Otto Hall in honor of German real estate magnate Alexander Otto ’90, according to Lowell faculty dean Diana L. Eck. A new seniors’ common room, lobby and large student lounge available for social events will also be part of the rebuilt wing.
“It will be a spacious space for social gatherings – for parties and all sorts of things that really provide space for students in the house,” Eck said.
The construction of additional student social spaces in the houses has been a common feature of the house renovation project as college administrators work to refocus social life in the houses.
The home will retain its iconic bell tower and include an elevator to the seventh-floor tower room after renovations, which are expected to begin after the start. The house will also be fully accessible, an administrative priority for the renewal of the house.
Other new additions to the house include a screening room with retractable seating for 75 people, an art and dance studio, and a practice area specifically for Lowell House Opera.
FAS assistant dean for physical resources Merle Bicknell said the house’s large size, historic architecture and lack of access to main streets complicate the project and require two years to build.
“Everything has to be on a crane and lifted over Lowell House and into the yard,” Bicknell said. “Given the constraints, and the construction market in Boston which has exploded, the conditions have just changed and we realized that we really had to do this in two years.”
Bicknell added that a new workshop with computer modeling and 3D printing capabilities has the potential to act as a hub for students traveling from the Allston campus. In 2020, much of the School of Engineering and Applied Science will cross the Charles River to a new complex.
Suites will make up 72% of the rooms, with the rest being single rooms in the hallways. The house has a mix of en-suites and hallways. Lowell will also retain a squash court and the traditional look of its library after the rebuild, according to Bicknell.
Bicknell said future home renovations will eliminate hallway duplicates after a report revealed the layout was unpopular among students.
She said that, as with the soon-to-be-completed Winthrop House project, Lowell’s renovations will also eliminate the current need for additional housing in the DeWolfe St. apartments, allowing all students to live in the house once construction is complete.
Although many of the house’s facilities will remain after construction is complete, the Lowell Bouldering wall in the Entrance A basement and the Harvard Community Garden on Mt. Auburn St. will be relocated to the Radcliffe Quadrangle.
David R. Friedrich, associate dean of students at the College, said the bouldering wall will be installed in the Quadrangle Recreational Sports Center by fall 2017, after students expressed strong support for keeping the structure.
—Editor Junina Furigay can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @junina_furigay.