Williams College Paresky Center

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Williams College Paresky Center

The place where everyone meets, sees and is seen, the Paresky Student Center creates a dynamic crossroads at a pivotal location on campus, contributing to a greater sense of community.

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[The building] fulfills the ambitions of its many creators, not only us architects, but our thoughtful, creative and demanding clients. They have imbued it with the character that is unique to Williams, made sure we understood what that meant, and helped it take its place at the center of student life. At last the Paresky Center has joined the conversation on Chapin Lawn.

Richard Olcott, Design Partner

On Chapin Lawn, the central green space on Williams’ historic campus, the building is a focal point for campus social life, providing space for formal and informal dining, meetings, gatherings, performances, and study and lounge areas.

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The new building achieves a balance: in its material quality it relates and scale to the College’s building traditions, while in its forms and massing it establishes a forward-looking architectural identity emblematic of the College’s progressive future.

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The design reinforces the principal east-west and north-south student pedestrian traffic patterns to create a dynamic and vital crossroads of student life.

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A double-height central space inspired by the rustic construction, comfortable furnishings, generous proportions and open fireplaces of the great nineteenth-century national parks lodges, organizes the building. In the New England tradition, a double-height porch provides a welcoming portico and gathering space, usable through most of the year.

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The extensive use of local materials such as wood from Williams’ own forests, Vermont slate, brick and cast stone, all resonate with past and present Williams’ buildings.

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Williamstown, MA
90,000 GSF
Snack Bar, Main Dining Facility, Game Room, Great Hall, Cinema, Pub


Ennead Design Team
Richard Olcott, Duncan Hazard, M. Gregory Clawson, Stephen PD Chu, Jack Allin, Howard Chu, Youngsun Ko, Mark Pisani, Faye Premer, Michael Regan, Hyunkil Son
Richard Barnes, Alan Karchmer/Alan Karchmer Architectural Photography, Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects, James Westphalen


  • 2007
    • Gorelov, Jacob. "Paresky gets two thumbs up" (The Williams Record, 2/21/2007)
    • Marcisz, Christopher. "Campus living room" (The Berkshire Eagle, 2/16/2007)
    • Korman, Amanda. "Looking through walls: a glimpse into Paresky" (The Williams Record, 2/14/2007)
    • "Polshek Parternship Architects Design Student Center" (on-wire.com, 7/6/2007)
  • 2006
    • Procter, Jo. "Williams Renews its Campus and Facilities During Summer Break" (iBerkshires.com, 9/19/2006)