January 17, 2013

Residential Redux at Yale University Lauded by AIA

© Peter Aaron/OTTO

The American Institute of Architects has selected Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges at Yale University to receive a 2013 Institute Honor Award, its highest professional award for architecture, urban design, and interior design. This project was one of 11 awarded for architecture, including the Barnes Foundation and the New York Public Library. From over 700 total submissions, 28 works located throughout the world were selected.

Jury comments

A thumbs-up for preserving the work of Saarinen and exploiting the basement space that was originally less desirable without altering the general impression and character of the project. 
It is sensitive to the resources and shows real attention to detail—great use of materials, lighting dynamics, and spatial results. 
All of the spaces were clearly improved, and the spaces of this two-college complex were connected functionally and agreeably. 
The creation of the sunken courtyards and inclusion of skylights were done in very subtle ways, increasing area and allowing additional uses.

Completed in 2011, the renewal of Morse and Ezra Stiles College, one of Eero Saarinen's last works, marked the final phase in Yale's campaign to renovate its twelve original residential colleges. Three major aspects to the renewal were the creation of 25,000 square feet of student life and activity space in an underground addition; reconfiguration of the prevailing courtyard hardscapes into a sustainable landscape dominated by water and greenery; and transformation of the student housing mix from stand-alone single rooms into suites.  
AIA Press Release announcing 2013 Institute Honor Award recipients