Although the college quad first became associated with academia on the campuses of Oxford and Cambridge, most of America’s great universities are now built around a similar model of surrounding a central space with residence halls and classrooms.
Many of these collegiate spaces have been listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and are considered among the most iconic examples of American architecture and design.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most beautiful and iconic examples of American campus quads:
Harvard University — Harvard Yard
Harvard Yard is the oldest part of Harvard’s campus, and the buildings surrounding it include freshman residence halls and some of the school’s main libraries.
University of Alabama — The Quad
The Quad at the center of UA’s campus used to host football games, but now might be best known as the home of Denny Chimes.
Cornell University — Arts Quad
Cornell’s Arts Quad is the academic home of the Arts and Sciences college, and is watched over by two statues of the university’s founders, Ezra Cornell and A.D. White.
University of Virginia — The Lawn
The Lawn at UVA was designed by school founder Thomas Jefferson and the Rotunda at the north-end of the quad was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.
University of Missouri — Francis Quadrangle
Mizzou’s Francis Quadrangle — known on campus as The Quad — features two of the school’s most recognisable structures, Jesse Hall and The Columns.
Yale University — Branford Courtyard
The courtyard of Yale’s Branford residential college is considered by many — including, reportedly, poet Robert Frost — to be one of the most beautiful spaces of any college in America.
University of Washington — The Quad
The UW Quad is known for the scenic cherry trees that bloom in the springtime, bringing a beautiful light pink overtone to campus.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Killian Court
The center of MIT’s Killian Court is the Great Dome, which is surrounded by marble buildings engraved with the names of prominent thinkers and philosophers.
University of Pennsylvania — The Quad
The UPenn Quad hosts the majority of freshman residence halls and is the most desirable place to live your first year on campus.
University of Maryland — McKeldin Mall
UMD’s McKeldin Mall is flanked on either end by the school’s main library and a statue of its mascot — Testudo — a diamondback terrapin turtle.
Stanford University — Main Quad
The Main Quad is home to the Stanford Memorial Church, considered to be the earliest nondenominational church on the West Coast.
University of Wisconsin — Madison — Bascom Hill
Bascom Hill is actually a drumlin — literally a “small hill” — that was likely formed by a glacier 20,000 years ago.
University of Michigan — The Diag
The Diag — known for the diagonal walkways that cut through the square — is a central meeting place at UMich.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign — Main Quad
The UIUC Main Quad houses Foellinger Auditorium, a concert space and lecture hall that can seat over 1,500 students.
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