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Memorial Hall Complex

Harvard University | Cambridge, MA

Memorial Hall Commons, built in 1870 as a memorial to Harvard graduates who fought for the Union in the Civil War, was the College’s main dining space until 1926. The Hall was largely underused until its comprehensive renovation in 1994. In collaboration with Venturi, Scott Brown, Bruner/Cott restored the historic shell and upgraded the building to contemporary standards. The restored space boasts hammerbeam trusses, stained glass windows, stenciled ceiling details, walnut paneling, new flooring and custom-designed furniture.

Today, Memorial Hall is one of Harvard’s most striking landmarks and a center for student life. On the main level, Annenberg Hall’s 600-seat dining commons is used daily by first-year College students. Bruner/Cott was responsible for the entire 15,000 sf food service operation, including a total kitchen redesign, new serveries, and Loker Student Commons on the lower level. The Commons hosts a community cultural center, seminar rooms, music practice rooms, and a food service area. The integration of the kitchen and loading dock on Oxford Street solved a major design challenge.


1997   American Institute of Architects – National Honor Award for Architecture
1997   Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts – Build Massachusetts Award
1996   Society of Environmental Graphic Design – Merit Award

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89,000 sf