erdman hall dormitories (1960-65)

The Subject of Place




I returned to campus last weekend and found myself eating cheetos in erdman again, like it was the year 2003.

It is written that by the 1950s it was clear to Bryn Mawr College President Katherine McBride (BMC ’25), that a new dormitory was needed. Louis Kahn was recommended by a trustee of the college Phyllis Goodhart Gordan, a friend of Vanna Venturi, whose son Robert Venturi had worked with Kahn.

Kahn was to design a dormitory to co-exist with the predominantly Cope + Stewardson designed architecture of gray stone. The building needed to hold 130 students, and continue the campus tradition of each dorm containing a dining room, large social rooms, smaller reception rooms, and a smoking room.




Despite the continually changing regard of both students and historians over the past five decades, I believe that the building is a success. As much as the concrete interior can be…

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