On July 2, 2013, Georgetown University revealed its plans for a new dorm on campus, across from the last patch of green space opposite Reiss, tenatively dubbed 'Northeast Triangle'. The plans were developed by Boston-based Sasaki Associates, whose past experience includes developing residence halls at UC Riverside, Purdue University, and California State Polytechnic University.
Students and alumni were unanimous in their opposition to the uninspired, Eastern Bloc-like proposal, completely incongruous with Georgetown's rich architectural heritage, in addition to taking up one of the last remaining green spaces on campus. The Old Georgetown Board agreed, asking for the University to go back to the drawing board and produce alternatives for the next board meeting in September.
We understand that Georgetown is under time, land and budget constraints. Nonetheless, in the past few years, other schools such as Princeton, Notre Dame, and Boston College have produced beautiful classical-style buildings (some of them in small lots, and yes, with LEED certification). It can be done, and it should be done at Georgetown.
This new building will be with us for decades, if not centuries to come. We deserve to seek out architects that have experience with designing buildings in a spirit and style that matches Georgetown's history, as seen in Healy, Old North and more, and not settle for another Darnall or New South out of expediency.
Students, alumni, neighbors and the Old Georgetown Board are asking for real alternatives. Simply making some tweaks to the initial drawing are not enough.
Below is a list of architectural firms who have recent experience in building residence halls of similar character to Georgetown; some even have specific past Georgetown building experience. We ask only that Georgetown approach and solicit at least two of the below firms to produce a 'concept sketch' of their ideas for the residence hall, taking into consideration the time, budget and space issues.
If Sasaki can go back to the drawing board and produce an award-winning drawing that meshes seamlessly into the campus's best traditions, hats off to them. But if we never see what other firms could have produced under the same circumstances, Georgetown cannot truthfully go back to the Old Georgetown Board in September and say they have honestly listened to the complaints and produced true alternatives for the students and alumni.
This D.C.-based architectural firm has done a number of impressive works, including a library at the University of Virginia, Duke University's Divinity School addition, the Kogod School of Business at American University, and Georgetown's McDonough Hall East Terrace Expansion.
Robert A.M. Stern Architects have designed a wide variety of academic buildings, including Harvard Business School, the Mason School of Business at William and Mary, and, closer to home, Southwest Quad and work on Georgetown's Master Plan.
5. Goody Clancy