September 2015 Features

Raise High the Roofbeam

New-DormA construction site for more than a year, the corner of Merion and Yarrow now sports a new dorm—Bryn Mawr’s first in nearly 45 years. Designed by Philadelphia-based Atkin Olshin Schade Architects, the building addresses several of the College’s needs all in one structure: It increases housing capacity and provides a new home for the former Perry House.

With 110 single rooms and 10 doubles, the new dorm increases the College’s bed capacity by more than 50 students. As an added bonus, that increased capacity translates into more single rooms for upper-class students.

The building incorporates renovated space from the former Haffner Hall; the multistory addition connects to the existing three-story structure by an enclosed bridge. At the corner of Merion and Yarrow, a glass-sheathed lounge offers a commanding view of Goodhart Hall. At ground level, a courtyard provides a landscaped lawn and outdoor seating that connects directly to the dining hall.

With sustainability in mind, the architects included an impressive array of environmentally friendly design features, including a super-insulated envelope for energy conservation, materials made with recycled content, LED lighting, low-flow plumbing, low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, non-mineral vegetable oil for the elevator’s hydraulic fluid, and windows with low-e insulated glass.

The three-story structure is providing a new home for the Black Cultural Center and residence previously housed in Perry. In addition to housing affinity groups—Sisterhood, BACaSO, Mujeres, Zami, and those who share their cultural background—the space includes a library, a kitchen, and a community room that can serve as a place of advocacy, support, dialogue, and community-building, as well as a venue for related academic and co-curricular events.

During the 2014–15 academic year, Bryn Mawr watched as the new dorm took shape. In October, the building was just being framed out. By Reunion Weekend, the exterior was complete and work on the interior underway. On Move-In Day 2015, 130 happy students settled into their beautiful new home.

Later that week, President Kim Cassidy revealed the name of the new Perry in her Convocation remarks, and the entire campus community gathered for the post-Convocation picnic on the grounds of the new dorm and the Enid Cook ’31 Center.

“With its light-filled lounges, beautiful campus views, and landscaped courtyard,” says Cassidy, “the new dorm is an inviting home for students, and it has already reinvigorated this corner of campus. My hope is that the energy and activity will carry through the year as the common areas serve as a hub for conversation, education, and celebration.”

For more photographs of the new dorm, visit our online gallery.