Structure Type: built works - dwellings - housing - student housing

Designers: Ambrose, William Clement, AIA, and Spencer, Eldridge T., FAIA, Associated Architects (firm); William Clement Ambrose (architect); Alton Salisbury Lee (architect); Eldridge Theodore Spencer (architect); Wesley A. Talley (architect)

Dates: constructed 1948

618 Escondido Road
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

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Stern Hall, Stanford University


This post-war dormitory accommodated approximately 240 male students when completed in 1949. Palo Alto resident and noted philanthropist, Lucy Stern, donated funds to complete this $700,000 facility. She had also donated money to the university to buld Stanford Hospital's Ruth Stern Research Laboratory in San Francisco and a nurse's cottage at the hospital's Palo Alto facility. A complex of eight rectangular halls oriented around courtyards, the dormitory reflected the influence of Stanford's Quadrangle and its use of enclosed courtyards. At the center of Stern Hall, was its dining facility. Stanford's University Architect of the era, Spencer and Ambrose, of San Francisco, designed this extensive student housing facility.

Building History

Begun in 1948, Stern Hall had a projected completion date (in 11/1948) of summer 1949.

Building Notes

Alton S. Lee, Design Principal; Stern Hall, a large dormitory complex for undergraduates with four quadrangles had eight component wings: Serra, Casa Zapata, Burbank, Donner, Twain East, Twain North, Larkin West, and Larkin North. The Architectural Record described the new dormitory's design: "The hall, designed by Spencer and Ambrose of San Francisco, will be made up of two units, each including two pavilions forming a right angle and connected by covered pathways. Each pavilion will house 60 students in double rooms, will have a guest sitting room and a two-room student sponsor's apartment. Two of the pavilions will face on Escondido Rd., one on Galvez St., the other on Arguello St. Exterior walls will be buff-colored, set off by contrasting areas of slate gray. Walls, floors and flat roof will all be of reinforced concrete. The total cost of the the two units, including furnishings, landscaping and utilities, is expected to be more than $700,000." (See "New Resident Hall for Stanford," Architectural Record, Western Section, vol. 104, no. 5, p. 32-21.) The use of flat roofs without a red-tile covering, was considering a daring desgin deviation from the prevailing Spanish Colonial Style tendencies established on campus. Among many, it was not popular.

Renovated in 1994;

PCAD id: 618