Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Quadrangle Dormitories/The "Quads"

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Institution Name: Drake University
Original/Historic Place Name: Quadrangle Dormitories/The "Quads"
Location on Campus: northwest corner of campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1951original construction Saarinen, Saarinen & Associates
Designer: Saarinen, Saarinen & Associates
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII (Glossary)
Significance: architecture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: pre-cast concrete panels and brick veneer
Roof: built up roof
1951-present (2006)residence halls

The Quadrangle Dormitories of Herriott, Carpenter, Crawford, and Stalnaker were constructed in 1951 by the firm of famous architect Eero Saarinen. The dormitories feature one large ring-shaped general dining room with views open to three sides and individual dining in some rooms.

At the basis of Saarinen's design was the premise that building each dormitory in the same diagrammatic fashion would deprive the building and its occupants of the spice of variety. Therefore, rooms are arranged in various fashions with the use of a single shared desk between two occupants to save space. In addition, Saarinen utilized the buildings central column alignment by offsetting them to allow for a greater density of rooms and more comfortable occupancy.


"A University Campus Plan Underway for Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, Saarinen, Swanson and Saarinen, Architects." Architectural Record 102 (December 1947): 71-87.


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Last update: November 2006