Smith College -Morris & Lawrence Houses, Northampton, MA
Lawrence House and it sister, Morris House were built in 1891 in response to
the rapidly growing student population at Smith with the goal to integrate a full academic experience for women. Each house is named after alumnae: Lawrence House is named for Elizabeth Crocker Lawrence, and Morris House for Kate Morris.
Both buildings are wood-frame construction, 4-floors, plus a basement, and approximately 35,000sf. The design of the houses sought to maintain a residential feel with large central staircases, and domestic public spaces typical of New England homes. They are marked by handsome architectural proportions and details, descriptive of the period.
The work includes replacement of the existing steam heating system with low temperature radiant panel heat and DDC controls, a new high pressure steam service, heat recovery ventilation, fire alarm replacement, electrical and communication upgrades, high efficiency lighting, and basement water mitigation. The buildings’ exterior received new historically accurate windows, masonry pointing, site work and landscaping. ADA accommodations include the addition of handicapped entry ramps and re-configured rooms on the first floor to accommodate accessibility. All common areas were redesigned, bathrooms received core renovations, new fixtures and finishes, and all public areas and rooms received new furniture and finishes.
“One of the main challenges was to maintain the character of the buildings and the result was very successful. We are very pleased that you listened to the students and gave them the opportunity to be invested in the outcome. The space is comfortable, functional and a wonderful improvement.”
Director of Residential Life
Northampton Historical Commission Award of Merit