Spelman Halls,

Spelman Halls, completed in 1973, provided the first on-campus apartment living for undergraduates. They were named for Laura Spelman Rockefeller, who, with her husband, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., founded Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, the first American college for black women. A former public schoolteacher, Mrs. Rockefeller maintained a lifelong interest in education, particularly for women. Her grandson, Laurance S. Rockefeller '32, a charter trustee, gave the University $4 million in 1969 to help institute coeducation. Most of the gift was used for Spelman Halls, which helped meet the increased housing needs of an expanded student body.

The eight-building complex, which was designed by I. M. Pei and Partners, contains fifty-eight apartments for 220 students. Each unit includes a living and dining area, outside balcony, kitchen, bath, and, typically, four study-bedrooms. Six of the apartments, with single large bedrooms, are for student married couples.

Set in a naturally wooded landscape on the western edge of the main campus, the interdependent halls are arranged along a diagonal axis extending south from Pyne Hall and Dillon Gymnasium in such a way as to preserve vistas and to provide pleasant spaces between Spelman and its neighbors. An innovative use of pre-cast concrete slabs, glass, and light enabled the architects to integrate the eight buildings into an architecturally varied campus, according to one observer, ``in an elegant, respectful, and restrained manner.''

In 1977, Spelman Halls was given an honor award by the American Institute of Architects as a ``distinguished accomplishment in architecture.''


From Alexander Leitch, A Princeton Companion, copyright Princeton University Press (1978).

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