The Residential Houses serve as the foundation for the undergraduate experience at Harvard College. Ninety-eight percent of all undergraduates live in one of the 12 residential Houses. A 13th House, Dudley House, serves non-residents and includes graduate student members. Each House accommodates 350-500 students with its own dining hall, common rooms, and facilities for academic, recreational, and cultural activities.
House affiliation is an important part of student (and alumni) identity, and Houses continue to be at the center of the student experience, where many forge lasting friendships with peers, faculty, and graduate students. While the programming within the Houses has evolved and continues to evolve with the needs and interests of undergraduates, the physical Houses have not. Most of the Houses in the River District were built between 80 and 100 years ago. House Renewal aims not only to improve conditions through renovation of these 80-100 year old buildings, but also to change how the physical spaces function to meet programmatic and other goals intrinsic to the residential experience at Harvard. House Renewal supports the mission of Harvard College to provide a student experience that is intellectually, personally and socially transformative for today’s students by reaching to the future with a new vision for a 21st century House experience.
During 2015-2016, Harvard University undertook an assessment of the house renewal project to date. The overview findings can be found here.