Erdman Hall Dormitories
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Architect Louis I. Kahn
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Location Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania   map
Date 1960 to 1965   timeline
Building Type college dormitories
 Construction System concrete frame, CMU infill, slate cladding
Climate temperate
Context suburban campus
Style Modern
Notes Intersecting diamond plans with services at core and rooms at periphery.






Elevation Drawing

Plan Drawing

Plan Drawing

Section Drawing

Discussion Erdman Hall Dormitories Commentary

"The building sits at the end of a suburban campus of a college for girls. The dormitory is conceived as a large house for approximately 150 girls. The plan is structured by three halls defined by large hoods, which rise above the roof to bring in natural light. The 'walls' of these halls contain the 'servant' spaces. The individual rooms for the students make up the periphery of each of the three squares. Connections are achieved at the corners. Construction consists of reinforced concrete frame with cinder block walls covered with slate on the exterior and plaster inside."

— Romaldo Giurgola and Jaimini Mehta. Louis I. Kahn. p23.

"Each central space is formed by four bath units directly related to the served bedrooms. The rectangular areas defined by the bath units serve as stairwells, balconies, and passageways. These areas are lit by skylights."

— Heinz Ronner, with Sharad Jhaveri and Alessandro Vasella. Louis I. Kahn: Complete Works 1935-74. p192.

The Creator's Words

"Nature does not make Art. She works by circumstance and law. Only man makes Art. Because man chooses. He invents. He can make the doors smaller than people and skies black in the daytime if he wants to. He assembles. He can bring together the mountain, the serpent and the child."

"Space is architectural when the evidence of how it is made is seen and comprehended."

"I believe firmly that we will become even more attuned to qualities that exist in the spaces, that 'want to be' - qualities that transcend function and circumstance."

— Louis I. Kahn. from Heinz Ronner, with Sharad Jhaveri and Alessandro Vasella Louis I. Kahn: Complete Works 1935-74. p187, 194.

"In a dormitory I'm doing for Bryn Mawr College, I had a feeling that the dining room, living room, reception rooms and entrance were different, in every respect, from the sleeping quarters. And I kept the sleeping quarters apart from these rooms, believing that I was expressing that one was different from another. But I discovered my mistake. I realized that a person sleeping in a room felt well about his house if he knew the dining room was downstairs. The same way with the entrance to the building. The sense of hospitality, or reception, of getting together must be part of the fabric of the house itself. I changed, much to my delight, the whole conception, and I made these spaces part of the fabric of the other spaces. To me, this is realization in form."

— Louis I. Kahn. from Alessandra Latour, ed. Louis I. Kahn: Writings, Lectures, Interviews. p150-151.

Sources on Erdman Hall Dormitories

David B. Brownlee and David G. DeLong. Louis Kahn: In the Realm of Architecture. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1991. photo of rear facade, f306, p208.

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. overlapping units diagram, p166. reduction diagram, p212. — Updated edition available at

Romaldo Giurgola and Jaimini Mehta. Louis I. Kahn. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1976. ISBN 0-89158-502-8. LC 75-19210. NA737.K32G58 1975. p23.

Alessandra Latour, ed. Louis I. Kahn: Writings, Lectures, Interviews. New York: Rizzoli International, 1991. ISBN 0-8478-1331-2. LC 90-50794. NA737.K32A2 1991. p150-151.

Heinz Ronner with Sharad Jhaveri and Alessandro Vasella. Louis I. Kahn: Complete Works 1935-74. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1977. ISBN 0-89158-648-2. xNA737.K32R66. p187-195.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Erdman Hall Dormitories


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