Davison House was built in 1902, completing the quadrangle of Elizabethan-style residence halls at Vassar College. Trustee John D. Rockefeller paid for the building and named it for his mother, Eliza Davison. The goal of the dorm’s year-long renovation was to preserve the original character of the dorm while modernizing the interior.
Updated fire codes require that doors close automatically, so the Davison House was outfitted with magnetic door holders. The renovated “family dorm” also features whiteboards installed outside each room. Unpartitioned hallways and study areas utilize the space formerly occupied by the central stairwell.
Though the Davison House still features hardwood flooring and wooden doors – the familiar basics of any Vassar dormitory – new details added modernity to the building. The fifth floor is lit by sunshine in the day and starlight in the night, thanks to skylights installed in the slanted ceiling. Bathrooms now have dual-function toilets to conserve water and contribute to Vassar’s effort to increase sustainability, and hallways had built-in waste kiosks installed with bins for recycling and garbage. In addition to these features, Davison House now includes a new passenger elevator, making it one of the most accessible dorms on campus.