“The buildings . . . were developed in accordance with the definite idea that business men are to take a large share in that leadership in the community. . . . that buildings and grounds could and should help in this education, that personality could be developed in an atmosphere of quiet, good taste appropriate to an old university.”The Architectural Forum, October 1927
The dormitories represented an essential element of the campus that would foster the sense of school identity and “intellectual sociability” Dean Wallace B. Donham desired. McKim, Mead & White gave the residences a domestic character by grouping them into two smaller units, creating variety with white stucco as well as brick exteriors, incorporating gables and distinctive decorative elements, and providing fireplaces and individual dining halls. At George F. Baker’s suggestion, the residence halls were named after notable U.S. secretaries of the treasury.
Baker Library was designed to serve as the visual and intellectual focal point of the campus. The Library’s bell tower and gilded cupola echoed the tower on Eliot House across the river, and a grand portico led to an elegant first-floor entranceway. The imposing wood-paneled reading room, located on the second floor, ran the length of the building with Venetian arches dividing the room into three parts. Large windows, supplemented by skylights, provided natural light and commanding views across the river. Charles C. Eaton, the School’s librarian, outlined the basic requirements of the building and space for continued growth of the collections, which included volumes on a diverse range of business subjects and special collections of rare and unique materials relating to business history.
The Library also became the temporary home of the School’s classrooms, when it became clear that a separate classroom building would be too costly to construct. The rooms featured sloping, tiered floors of curved rows with desks, a design Dean Donham and his team first outlined in early stages of the competition. The arrangement, they believed, would promote open dialogue among students and professors, critical to the case method teaching style, used then, as now, in most of the School’s courses. Over the years, as new classroom buildings were constructed, this original classroom design has been modified, but would still be recognizable to its original inventors. Next to Baker Library, Morgan Hall, named after George F. Baker’s friend J. P. Morgan, included accounting laboratories, research rooms, a laboratory of industrial physiology, and offices for the dean, professors, research staff, and administrative personnel.
George F. Baker had developed a warm personal attachment to Dean Wallace B. Donham during the course of the project, and strongly supported the building of an on-campus residence for the dean. Donham suggested locating the residence on the southeasterly section of the site, and also advocated successfully for a garden, to the rear of the building, which would give its residents a measure of privacy. Architect William T. Aldrich designed the stately residence, which was completed in 1929.
Landscaping of the entire campus began after the Dean’s House was built. The commission was given to the Olmsted Brothers firm, then operated by Frederick Olmsted, Jr., who, with his brother John, had taken over the business from their father Frederick Law Olmsted, the great American landscape architect. The original competition guidelines noted that the HBS campus had “no natural beauty in topography or tree growth, and the landscape treatment should provide as soon as possible an attractive enframement of the buildings by fences, shrubbing, and trees, not too formally arranged.”16 Working with a diverse palette of plant, shrub, and tree species, the firm created a series of charming and elegantly understated landscape settings within the campus’s courtyards and open spaces.
- Program for Architectural Competition, See note 13, p. 9. ←