‘Students and Alumni For a Better Georgetown’ Not Digging Proposed New Dorm

Rendering by Sasaki Associates via change.org

Thanks to a reader for sending this petition – Georgetown University: Solicit new architects’ drawings for the new ‘Northeast Triangle’ dorm:

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.

13 Comment

  • Awful, looks like from the 70’s!

    • Then it will match most of the campus! Except for a couple of postcard buildings, most of the buildings on campus are generic brick blocks.

  • It looks like the Sandcrawler from Star Wars. Ugh.

  • Isn’t Georgetown awash in money? They couldn’t afford something a bit nicer than this?

    • Not quite – Like a lot of schools, they’re dragging along tones of debt from the hospital they finally sold off about 6 years ago, and they didn’t start a concerted fundraising campaign until fairly recently.

      Georgetown’s never really been a winner when it comes to real estate — GW’s Trachtenberg definitely showed them up over the years. If I remember correctly, they blinked on the purchase of the Mount Vernon Campus in Foxhall that could have alleviated a lot of its space problems, and GW gobbled it up. They also bought high ($10 million?) and sold low ($2 million) on the Wormley School because they couldn’t get around to presenting an agreeable renovation plan. Andy they’re apparently getting taken for a ride by the outfit that owns the Car Barn.

      The Hariri Building is great, but the Business School basically did most of that (capital campaign, major donor recruitment, design, etc.) on its own. Same story different tune with the buliding renaissance at the effectively-independent Law Center. I like to juxtapose it with the cheap plastic-shell science building Hariri faces, as well as the DeGioia-led Multi-Sport Field that never got a large naming-rights-securing donor and then failed to build anything except the goalposts. They finally stopped calling it the MSF altogether a couple years ago and started calling it Harbin Field again.

      No, they don’t have tons of money. Or really a lot of good planning sense. After all the alumni good will they got from the Hariri building, this is to DeGioia’s alumni approval rating what that string of NCAA first-round flops has been for JTIII’s. We know they can do better, which probably makes us MORE disappointed.

  • andy

    I think I saw that in Dresden in the 1990s.

  • #Gross. I had really high hopes after the Hariri Building. It looks like they’ve given up on hopes of replacing Reiss with something people want to see, so they’re just going to make nearby buildings MATCH it.

  • Looks a bit prison-like.

  • The early renderings were a little more…exciting, if that help. Location’s still terrible, though.


    Also hilarious: Among Georgetown’s main alternatives was to buy back from MedStar the wasted Kober-Cogan building that IT BUILT. #GeorgetownReal(lySad)Estate

    But seriously, just build something pretty on top of Harbin Plaza.

  • I’ve always supported the idea of campus housing with cement/mud-colored facade

  • Design could be much better but saying that is one of the few remaining green spaces on campus is a bit hyperbolic.

Comments are closed.