Architect will add, renovate first-year dormitories
After a thorough search, Bowdoin hired architect Kyu Sung Woo of Kyu Sung Woo Architect Inc. to design the two new first-year dorms that will act as swing space while the existing bricks are renovated. The new bricks will be converted into more first-year housing after the project is complete.
Construction will begin in the summer of 2004 and end in the fall of 2005. Harriman Associates of Auburn, Maine, headed by Daniel Cecil, will start renovating the bricks beginning with Hyde, which has not been renovated in 85 years. The entire project will be done in the fall of 2009.
The program committee that oversaw the selection process solicited portfolios from 10 firms that have all done campus work and then selected four firms to interview. Dean of Student Affairs Craig Bradley, chair of the program committee, said, "We considered how we liked their work and also their sense of ability."
According to Bradley, there was a "pretty clear consensus" in selecting Kyu Sung Woo out of the four firms. Professor Mark Wethli of the art department, who served on the program committee, said of Woo, "He combines innovative, original, and fresh design with the tradition of the residence halls as we know them."
Bradley stressed the importance of the freshmen dorms and the project. He said, "For us, there is very much a sense of community at Bowdoin. The Bricks are where this is instilled."
Wethli, who believes that Woo does a "beautiful job of blending past and future," pointed out his unique style, saying, "He's very sculptural. The basic design for a building is a box. Some architects just decorate the box, but he really animates it."
Senior Sarah Fick, who was also a member of the program committee, saw Woo as the unmistakable choice.
"Mr. Woo's design clearly stood out from the other designs as being very different. Looking at his portfolio he has designed some spectacular buildings, including the Jordan Pond House on Mount Desert Island, and very recently a new dorm for Brandeis," Fick said.
Some of Woo's other works include the 1988 Olympic Village in Seoul, Korea, a residence hall at the Massachusetts College of Art, a science center and residence hall at Northeastern, and the Whanki Museum in Seoul, Korea.
Even though the new dorms will be located at the opposite end of campus, much effort is going into maintaining some consistency.
"The new buildings won't be on the quad and they won't have the same character, but we aim for the quality, the nature of the space, and the ambiance to be the same," said Bradley.
A great deal of effort will also be needed to make sure all of the dorms have the same attraction. "One of the important values of Bowdoin life is equality," said Bradley. "We want the same deal for everyone."
At the same time, the new dorms will have their own distinctive appeal.
"These are going to be exciting residence halls and they'll cast a mold for that end of campus and 21st century campus design. It'll be a good example to set," said Wethli.
Wethli also said the formation of a new quadrangle over on the South Street end of campus is in the works. "Ladd House will figure into that as the focal point and the residence halls will create a boundary for the new quadrangle," he said.
Some questions have been raised about affiliations with college social houses.
"We really want the IHC to help us with how to do that," said Bradley. Preliminary plans have the new dorms affiliated with Seven Boody Street and Burnett.
Once work is complete on the new dorms, renovation on the Bricks will commence. The Bricks will all have elevators and be wheelchair accessible. To comply with fire codes, two methods of exit must be installed. Once all of the work is completed, the dorm size will be reduced from 85 to about 62 and the triples converted into doubles.
"There will be slightly smaller two room doubles across the board organized around landings, but there will still be seven other people you'd get to know well," said Bradley.
As the project gets underway, the program committee seems confident that Bowdoin is in good hands under Woo's plans.
"He's a major architect," said Wethli, "and I couldn't be more delighted that we're bringing him to Bowdoin."