Yale’s Schwarzman Center transforms Carrère & Hastings’ historic Commons and three floors of the adjoining Memorial Hall—components of their 1901 Bicentennial Buildings—into a social hub for the university’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Capitalizing on its location at the geographic center of campus, the Schwarzman Center is dedicated to both cultural programming and student life, outfitted with state-of-the-art technology that enables virtual engagement with the Yale community away from campus, as well as with the broader public.
The renovations retain and restore the building’s historic architectural features and return to public use the top-floor Dome Room, for decades the yearbook office, reinventing it as a flexible experimental performance space. Service areas below the Commons are reclaimed to create a bistro and additional gathering spaces to be configured for performances. Below Memorial Hall, a circular room with exposed granite foundation walls became a pub, the Grotto.
A sweeping stair descending from Hewitt Plaza provides entrance to the lower-level social spaces, and a skylit second-floor addition along Grove Street, inspired by a 1906 Carrère & Hastings proposal for private dining rooms, creates a series of double-height lounges and meeting rooms that in the evening hours are a beacon for the Yale community, visible when approaching from Science Hill and our firm’s Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin Residential Colleges to the north.