HMFH Architects

Williams College
Master Planning

Williamstown, MA

Faced with changing goals for campus life and an inventory of aging facilities, Williams College engaged HMFH to complete Sector Plans for several non-academic programs, including residential life, health services, student activities, and admissions. The resulting plans outline the conditions, priorities, and direction for each sector, then present scenarios for how they intersect and effect one another within the context of a changing campus.

We appreciate the way HMFH studied our campus culture as well as our facilities, leading to inclusive and deeply engaging processes. While not every campus planning initiative generates ongoing activity, these studies have led to both important program enhancements and key capital construction projects.

Stephen Klass VP for Campus Life, Williams College
  • Students Who Live On Campus 95%
  • Oldest Residential Building 1790
  • Size 687,718 ft2

Residential Sector Plan

Before investing in much needed renovations, Williams College hired HMFH to complete a residential plan that would not just guide physical improvements, but would help cultivate a vital campus community. Data from student focus groups, an on-line survey, and analysis of the 37 buildings, led to design benchmarks as well as building specific renovation plans that preserve the unique character of each house. At the campus level, adjustments to circulation and open spaces, paired with strategic additions and new construction, create denser, more cohesive neighborhoods.


Graduate Student Housing

Informed by findings in the Residential Sector Plan, HMFH designed a pair of live/work residences for Williams College’s graduate art history program. The upper floor studio apartments offer autonomous, quiet study and living quarters for the mid-career professionals enrolled in this program. First floor common spaces, including a dual-use seminar and dining room, are dedicated to community living and collaborative work. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Berkshires, the two houses provide a warm and welcoming home within the rural landscape.

Southwest Campus Sector Plan

The Southwest corner of Williams College, comprised primarily of former residential buildings, lacked critical mass and connectivity to other campus quadrants. Core programs, such as the Office of Admissions and Health Services, had outgrown their facilities, while other buildings stood empty. The HMFH plan revitalizes the Southwest Sector by consolidating related uses into discrete neighborhoods. A network of open spaces and pedestrian paths link the new and renovated facilities to central academic quads.

View All Projects