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The Memorial Quadrangle at Yale University, USA, was donated by Anna M. Harkness with Harkness Tower named in memory of her son, Charles Harkness, Yale Class of 1883. Commissioned from James Gamble Rogers to supply much-needed student housing, the Quadrangle now consists of Saybrook College and Branford College colleges. It was built over a period from 1917 to 1921, with the cornerstone laid on 8 October 1917, the anniversary of the first New Haven collegiate building's timber frame in 1717.
James S. Hedden was the contractor's supervisor for the project and a collection of his works consists of photographs documenting the excavation and construction of Memorial Quadrangle at Yale. The works are located at Yale's Manuscripts and Archives Library and contain views which include photographs of completed decorations and interiors, models, the installation of millstones and bells, assignment plans, and the construction of the fan vault ceiling in the Memorial Room of Harkness Tower.
The Quadrangle contains Harkness Tower, the most visible symbol of Yale on the New Haven skyscape, which is placed on an axis which unifies it to the Old Campus. As initially built, the Quadrangle contained dorm rooms for 630 students laid out to frame eight courtyards. The dry moats with their low walls, now a frequent architectural theme at Yale, were introduced in this building. They were planted with ivy, flowers, and trees by landscape architect Beatrix Jones Farrand with an eye to increased privacy as well as street beautification. The Memorial Room in Harkness Tower contains the first fan vault ceiling built in the United States—indeed, it is the first built since the 13th century.
There are six courtyards in the quadrangle: Branford Court, Brothers in Unity Court, Linonia Court, Caliope Court, Saybrook Court, and Killingworth Court. (The first four are part of Branford College. The latter two are part of Saybrook College. Brothers in Unity and Linonia are considered precursors to present-day Yale societies.)
From 1917 to 1933 the building consisted of senior housing. In 1933, a donation from Edward Harkness began the residential college system at Yale, splitting the Quadrangle into its two colleges, and adding midsized elements such as masters' houses, fellow's quarters, and dining halls. Harkness had also donated the funds for a residential college system at Harvard, arguably making him Harvard's most important benefactor.
During the conversion, the "Gold Coast" of student rooms in the middle of the Quadrangle was hollowed out to make way for the Saybrook College dining hall.