Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Greylock Quadrangle

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Institution Name: Williams College
Original/Historic Place Name: Greylock Quadrangle
Location on Campus: 32, 36, 44 North St., 1020 Main St., 25 Adams Memorial Dr.
Date(s) of Construction:
1965original construction Thompson, Ben The Architects Collaborative
Designer: The Architects Collaborative (Ben Thompson)
Type of Place: Building group
Style: Contemporary, Modern/post-WWII (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history, landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
ca. 1965-present (2006)classrooms
ca. 1965-present (2006)dining hall
ca. 1965-present (2006)residence halls

The site of the Greylock Quadrangle is associated with two events in Williams' history: the resignation of a president and the abolition of fraternities. When the site was purchased by the College in the 1930s, tensions between the trustees and the college's president, Tyler Dennett, flared over this expansion of the campus and probably aided in Dennett's quick resignation. During the abolition of fraternities and subsequent re-organization of student social life, Greylock was constructed to fulfill the need for housing and feeding students within this new residential system.

The Greylock Quadrangle comprises a dining hall and student housing. The four dormitories--William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), Mark Hopkins (1802-1887), Franklin Carter (1837-1919) and Washington Gladden (1836-1918)--are each named after scholars and author/poets associated with the college. It is apparently the first of Williams' buildings whose design was aided directly by student input.

Whitney Stoddard described the planning process in his Reflections on the Architecture of Williams College: "Planning the Greylock houses was complicated and took a long time because of the complexity of the site being used… The design problem was to situate these four residential houses so as to have them step down the west-to-east slope, which also dropped off somewhat to the north… An early aerial view shows that what the architect was doing was exactly the opposite of creating a quadrangle. He made as many of the rooms as possible face outward, toward spaces between buildings, so that views of the mountains are maximized."


Lewis, R. Cragin, ed. Williams 1793-1993: A Pictorial History. Williamstown, MA: Williams College Bicentennial Commission, 1993.

Rudolph, Frederick. Mark Hopkins and the Log: Williams College, 1836-1872. Reprint, with an appendix by the author, "Williams College 1793-1993: Three Eras, Three Cultures," Williamstown, MA: Williams College, 1996.

Stoddard, Whitney. Reflections on the Architecture of Williams College. Williamstown, MA: Williams College, 2001: 124, 126.


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