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Pierson College
New Haven
Kieran Timberlake Associates

KieranTimberlake Associates addresses Yale University’s needs in the present while respecting its passion for tradition

© Barry Halkin

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By Sara Hart

By the first part of the 20th century, Yale had gained renown as an elite university. Such status spurred aggressive building, expanded curriculum, and increased enrollment. Concerned alumni and administrators sensed the atmosphere was becoming increasingly impersonal and, therefore, detrimental to students. They moved to organize the campus into a network of smaller, self-contained residential colleges, loosely based on the model of Oxford and Cambridge. They reasoned that an intimate, domestic environment would not only be more conducive to academic achievement, but promote emotional and social well-being.

The university commissioned Philadelphia-based KieranTimberlake Associates (KTA) to tackle a daunting program of tremendous scope. The program included life-cycle renovations, utility upgrades, compliance with life-safety codes and accessibility regulations, dorm-room upgrades and additions, and improvement to the dining services and student-activity areas. The scope was not limited to the buildings. The program called for a new landscaped walkway and courtyard along the previously undeveloped east side of the college.

First of all, many of the most difficult solutions are invisible. In the areas to be preserved, such as the dining hall and library, KTA dismantled the interiors; stored the woodwork; upgraded the mechanical, electrical, and fire-safety systems; and then reinstalled the finishes as if nothing had been disturbed.

To alleviate the bed shortage, KTA renovated existing suites by combining two adjacent suites into one, annexing closet space into the bedrooms, and consolidating circulation. They designed a three-story, 11,500-square-foot addition on the Upper Court between the college quadrangle and the University Theater. The addition provides a total of six suites, accommodating up to 24 beds.

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Formal name of Project:
Pierson College, Yale University

New Haven

Gross square footage:
165,500 sq. ft.

Yale University

KieranTimberlake Associates LLP
420 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
V 215-922-6600
F 215-922-4680


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