Cambridge: Harvard University - Sever Hall
Sever Hall, forming the western side of the Sever quadrangle at 25 Harvard Yard, was built from 1878-1880 to the Romanesque revival style of Henry Hobson Richardson. The red brick faced academic building, a gift from Anne Sever in honor of her deceased husband, James Warren Sever, features several small classrooms and larger lecture halls used mostly as a general-purpose building for humanties courses.
Sever Hall is 176-feet, 4-inches long, by 74-feet, 4-inches wide, with a height to a cornice of 50-feet, above which a hipped roof rises a further 30 feet. It is three stories tall, with a fourth story set within the roof. The west facade features two round bays set symmetrically above an an entrance within a deeply recessed semi-circular archway. The east facade is similar but with a simpler, rectangular entrance. About 1.3 million bricks were used in its construction, including 60 different varities of red molded brick for the exterior facades.
The archway on the west facade, called the "whispering gallery", posseses an acoustical oddity. A whisper directly into one side of the archway can be heard clearly on the other side twelve feet away even though it could not be from just a few inches away.
Harvard University (officially The President and Fellows of Harvard College), a private Ivy League university, was established in 1636 by the colonial Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the first corporation chartered in the United States and oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The university currently comprises ten separate academic units and has the largest financial endowment of any school in the world.
Harvard Yard, a twenty-five acre grassy area, constitutes the oldest part and the center of the campus of Harvard University. Geographically Harvard Yard is bordered to the west by Massachusetts Avenue and Peabody Street, the north by Cambridge Street, the northeast by Broadway, the east by Quincy Street, and the south by Harvard Street and Massachusetts Avenue. It contains thirteen of Harvard College's seventeen freshman dormitories, as well as four libraries, five buildings of classrooms and academic departments, and the central administrative offices of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the university. The western third of Harvard Yard, which opens onto Massachusetts Avenue at Johnston Gate, is known as the Old Yard.
In 2007, Sever Hall was ranked #77 on the AIA 150 America's Favorite Architecture list.
Harvard Yard National Register #70000732 (1973)