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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Castle Quad one of coolest dorms in U.S.

Published: January 22, 2010
Section: Front Page, News

Usen castle: Dorm linked to J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts pictured above on a winter evening.<br /><i>PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot</i>

Usen castle: Dorm linked to J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts pictured above on a winter evening.
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

U.S. News and World Report recently dubbed Usen Castle one of the eight “coolest dorms in the nation” also including dorms at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Virginia, and College of William and Mary.

Usen Castle, built in 1928, predates the founding of the university, making it the oldest building on campus. It was added to the list due to features such as balconies with panoramic, scenic views of the Boston skyline. The Castle also includes Cholmondeley’s (also known as Chum’s), which, according to urban legend, was the inspiration for Central Perk–the coffee shop in Friends, created by Brandeis alumni Marta Kauffman ’78 and David Crane ’79.

Student opinion varies on whether the Castle deserves its place on the list. Some adore their housing in the castle and hope to live there in the future, while others feel it is poorly designed and does not live upt to the hype, regardless of how cool it may seem from the outside.

Rachael Pass ’13 hopes to live in the Castle during her sophomore year because it reminds her of Harry Potter’s alma mater, Hogwarts.

“I want to live in the Castle because Chum’s is my Room of Requirement, and the courtyard is the perfect place to practice my Quidditch skills,” Pass said.

Students who feel negatively about the Castle blameits poor interior construction.

“Have they seen the inside?” Erin Wise ’10 asked, before pointing out that because the Castle was designed from the outside in (architecture convention dictates buildings should be designed from the inside out), and is full of dead ends and hallways that lead to nowhere.

No matter what their thoughts on the Castle, however, none can argue it’s not one of a kind.