Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Quad, The

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Institution Name: Trinity College (CT)
Original/Historic Place Name: The Quad
Location on Campus: expansive open area at the center of the campus framed on three sides by buildings
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
variousmaster plan Unknown
Type of Place: Landscape site
Type of landscape–
Large-scale features:
The western part of the Trinity College campus is situated on a rocky ridge having a north-south axis; an extensive plain at the center of the ridge extends to the east and gradually slopes down to the athletic fields; the Quad is an expansive area of lawn and shade trees that occupies the western central portion of the plain and extends to the point where the terrain slopes down. Trees (originally elms, later ash) are planted in the form of the letter ‘T’, with the body of the letter formed by a parallel row of trees on an east-west axis. In the midst of this row of trees is the imposing statue of the Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Brownell, founder and first president of the College. The Quad is bounded on the west by the Long Walk range, on the north by Williams Memorial, Downes Clock Tower and the Trinity College Chapel, and on the south by the McKim, Mead & White range and the Library and Information Technology Center. The Quad is open on the east and offers commanding views of the city of Hartford.
Other characteristics:
1878-present (2007)outdoor space (used for Commencements and special convocations)

Significance: architecture, culture, education
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Quad and the buildings bordering it, whether instructional, residential, administrative or religious in nature, reflect English collegiate practice in their grouping and speak to the College's mission as an institution of higher education. In 1872, when Trinity sold its original campus in the center of Hartford for use as the site of a new state capitol building, William Burges, the eminent English architect, was engaged to design the buildings for the new campus on the Rocky Ridge site to the south of the center of Hartford. His design called for the arrangement of buildings in four closed quadrangles in line. Although the American supervising architect, Francis H. Kimball, modified the plan by reducing the number of quadrangles to three, the College's resources permitted only the construction of the westernmost bar-like arm of the central quadrangle. As described separately, this range of buildings is known as the "Long Walk," and over the years, other buildings adjoining it, also described separately, have created northern and southern east-west arms. The eastern side of The Quad remains open, and this expansive area with its associated buildings continues to be the focal point of the campus.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Weaver, Glenn. The History of Trinity College: Volume I. Hartford, CT: Trinity College Press, 1967.

Armstrong, Christopher D. "Qui Transtulit Sustinet: William Burges, Francis Kimball, and the Architecture of Hartford's Trinity College." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 59, no. 2 (June 2000): 194-215.

Knapp, Peter J., and Anne H. Knapp. Trinity College in the Twentieth Century: A History. Hartford, CT: Trinity College, 2000.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections

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