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Feature Story
reed magazine logoAutumn 2008

In the Neighborhood

with five new dorms reed aims to foster a tighter community

By Romel Hernandez

Before the summer sun gave way to autumn’s chill, Reed’s new residence houses on the northwest corner of campus began to look a lot like home. Students read or chatted with friends in the courtyard and along the patios, soaking up the last days of sunshine. Inside the dorms, the intentionally unique spaces the architects had designed were now ornamented with giant stuffed animals and assorted lamps, chairs, and garage-sale kitsch. Under a second-floor stairwell, a ramshackle “fort” had been built, a cramped, cozy hangout made of cardboard, lined with blankets, and protected by a rusty suit of armor.

Students mix at Caffè Paradiso (top); traverse the new pedestrian bridge (center); and hang out in Sequoia living room (bottom). Photos (top to bottom) are by Molly Gingras ’09, Raymond Rodriguez, and ©Eckert and Eckert

The houses, three of which are designated for trees— Sitka, Sequoia, and Aspen—have been dubbed, collectively, the Grove. The fourth house is named after college emeritus trustee H. Gerald Bidwell (see page 6). After more than two years of planning and construction, the new development—home to 125 Reedies—opened this fall about 100 yards from what students are calling the “Bouncy Bridge,” a new 300-foot-long, concrete-and-steel structure that curves high above Reed canyon, linking the residential housing on the north side of campus—along with residence life and community safety offices— to the student union, library, residence halls, and academic buildings and services on the south side.

Along Woodstock Boulevard, now a brisk 10-minute walk from the Grove by way of the new pedestrian bridge, a new Spanish House has risen beside the existing cluster of language houses, which were built 80 years ago as faculty housing by legendary architect A.E. Doyle. The house was designed with roomy common areas on the ground floor and plenty of small studying nooks elsewhere. The bedrooms, all singles, are each distinctive. “Amazing. Incredible,” is how Maria Luque, the Spanish language scholar who is living with 16 students in the house, describes her new domicilio. Taking a peek inside as workers were putting the finishing touches on the building before the start of the term, Luque envisioned students gathering for conversations around the living room fireplace, and cooking and sharing dinners in the spacious kitchen and dining room—paellas, she said, and tortillas.

“We wanted to create memorable spaces,” says Alan Osborne of Hennebery Eddy Architects, the firm that designed the Spanish House. “We want students to look back on their experiences and remember good times here.

Together, these five houses and new bridge are helping to the shape Reed’s campus environment and strengthen the deep sense of community that William Trufant Foster, Reed’s first president, saw as the hallmark of intellectual enthusiasm.”

reed magazine logoAutumn 2008