Wellesley College: East Campus

Built in the 1950s, Freeman, Bates and McAfee are still referred to as the New Dorms on campus. Despite the rare single rooms and proximity to the Science Center offered by this living complex, the tired and uncomfortable public spaces were contributing to a negative reputation.

Our challenges were multiple: a) provide space for real student activity and socialization, b) restore the dignity of these mid-Century buildings, c) gracefully bring these spaces up to code with accessibility and fire-safety.

McAfee's Living Room (the only historicist space in the complex) suffered from visual isolation from the entry; a new seating niche encased in a wood an glass screen punches through the existing wall, bringing light and transparency to both spaces.

The upper level of the Freeman Living Room was made accessible with a sequence of ramps, each integrated with seating groups and wood screens. A TV Room received new finishes, lighting and custom millwork integrating the TV and AV equipment.

The two Dining Rooms received similar wood slats and new storefront windows with integrated window shades. The original light fixtures were restored and re-lamped with LEDs.

Together, these renovations are breathing new life and excitement into this corner of campus.

firm C&J Katz Studio
lead designer — Jeffrey Katz
— designer, project manager
— Wellesley, MA
scale — Phase I: 2500 sf; Phase II: 10,000 sf
architect of record — Goody Clancy Architects
general contractor — Marc Truant & Associates, Inc.
date of completion — Phase I: Oct 2016; Phase II: Aug 2017