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Job 5805: Yale University, New Haven, CT: New Colleges [Samuel F. B. Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges]

 Part of Collection
Call Number: MS 593, Series IV

Scope and Contents

To accommodate 250 students in each of two residential colleges on the northwest edge of the Yale University campus, Eero Saarinen and Associates formed courtyards defined with low-rise polygonal buildings punctuated by two high-rise towers. The colleges are separated by an open pedestrian walk leading to the massively scaled neo-Gothic Payne Whitney Gymnasium, which together with the colleges' curving building wall form a plaza. The colleges' varied silhouette results less from programmatic requirement than design intuition; during the design process, Saarinen reputedly used balloons raised to different heights to help envision the building profile.

Because the colleges' budget precluded the use of traditional masonry, which had been employed for Yale's older dormitories, Saarinen pioneered a method of concrete construction, aiming to produce what he described as "masonry walls made without masons." The Prepakt Concrete Company of Cleveland, Ohio, which had been identified by John Dinkeloo, built walls through which concrete was poured to surround rough-cut stones three to eight inches in length. Abstract freestanding and relief sculptures by Costantino Nivola were placed throughout the complex. Pedestrian pathways weaving through the residential colleges incorporate changes in grade and offer varied and changing vistas.

Inside, the buildings' complex footprints result in irregularly shaped rooms that Saarinen hoped would be "as individual as possible, as random as those in an old inn."


  • 1936-1989
  • Majority of material found within 1942 - 1962


Conditions Governing Access

From the Collection:

While this collection as a whole is available for research, parts of it may be restricted due to law, university policy or fragility. Any restricted material will be noted as such.

Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy, which is retained by the repository. Researchers wishing to obtain an additional copy for their personal use should consult Copying Services information on the Manuscripts and Archives web site.

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

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