Stern Hall

Stern HallInformation on this page:


Lucie Stern Hall, built shortly after World War II and renovated in 1995, represents Stanford’s brief departure into architectural modernism. Stern honors donor “Aunt Lucie” Stern, a popular local figure and friend of the University who often invited students to her Palo Alto house to make them feel at home.

Stern Hall consists of six small houses that accommodate about 100 students each, either in all-freshman or four-class buildings. Stern houses were originally named for California pioneers, such as horticulturalist Luther Burbank, mission founder Father Junipero Serra, and mother lode author Mark Twain. Casa Zapata, named more recently, reflects the Chicano/Latino cross-cultural theme program located at the complex.

Stern and the post-war building boom

Stern Hall is a beloved residence on campus due, in part, to Lucie Stern. Lucie’s gifts and donations to Stanford University - including student loans, gifts to health services, Stern Hall, and a new Law School building – have allowed students, faculty, and staff to thrive and continue carrying on her spirit.

Today, Stern Hall's architectural style is often considered controversial at Stanford, but, when it was built in 1948, some saw it as a necessary shift toward modern architecture and planning. In his support of Stern and other building-boom projects at the time, Stanford President Donald Tresidder (1943-1948) called for “new educational buildings [that] will not…imitate, in steel and glass and concrete, the truly inimitable beauty of the stone-built quads…Rather we shall build with today’s materials, harmoniously, but of the present.”

Eldredge Spencer, a Beaux Arts-trained San Francisco architect, headed Stanford’s first planning office, established under Tresidder, and designed Stern. Abandoning Stanford’s familiar red-tile roofs and arcades, Stern organized the houses around small internal courtyards, but provided for a central kitchen and dining facility. Faculty resident apartments and common areas in each house - particularly libraries and lounges - were meant to encourage interaction among students and faculty.

For information on the accessibility of residences for both living and visiting, please reference our Undergraduate Residences Accessibility Summary chart.

General Information

Residence Name

Stern Hall



Navigation Address

618 Escondido Road, Stanford, CA 94305

Housing Front Desk

Stern Hall Housing Front Desk

Dining Service

Located in the center of the Stern residential complex and serving students from Burbank, Donner, Larkin, Serra, Twain, and Casa Zapata (the Chicano theme house)Stern Dining is heavily influenced by the vibrant community that surrounds it. From the daily salsa bar to the rotating Latin American specials, the taste of the food is matched only by the beauty of the murals adorning the walls of the dining rooms.

Class Configuration

All freshman and four-class

Co-ed Type

Co-ed by corridor (men and women live on the same floor)

Custodial Service

University managed

Common Areas

Each house in Stern has its own lounge, dining room, and other common areas, providing popular gathering spaces for residents.

The Houses

Burbank Casa Zapata
Burbank Casa Zapata* (Theme house)
Donner Larkin
Donner Larkin
serra Twain
Serra Twain

House Facts


Co-ed type:

All Freshmen
Two single-gender floors and one co-ed floor

Casa Zapata*
Theme House

Co-ed type:


Four-class house
Two single-gender floors and one co-ed floor

Chicano/Latino Theme House
This cross-cultural house features theme programs exploring Chicano/Latino history and culture, and sponsors events like, Zoot Suit Week, Cinco de Mayo, and Dia de los Muertos. Pre-assignment to this residence requires an agreement to support the program.


Co-ed type:

All Freshmen
Co-ed by corridor


Co-ed type:

All Freshmen
Co-ed by corridor


Co-ed type:

All Freshmen
Co-ed by corridor

Twain Configuration:
Co-ed type:
All Freshmen
Co-ed by corridor

*Important Assignment Information

Residential Education is offering a pre-assignment system for all Special Program Houses (Ethnic/Academic Theme, Focus and Cooperative Houses). This process will allow Resident Fellows, Faculty Affiliates, and house program staff to pre-assign a set number of residents who complete the pre-assignment application and meet all necessary requirements prior to the Housing Draw. Here is the Residential Education link for detailed pre-assignment information.

There are THREE ways to get in to Special Program Houses.  Please see the Theme and Focus House page for details.




Wall-to-wall carpeting

Extra-long twin bed

Window coverings

Desk and chair

High-speed internet access

Wall-mounted bookshelves

Telephone and telephone line


Cable TV capability


Waste basket and recycling bin


Separate bathrooms and showers for men and women are located on each floor.

Sample Floor Plans

Stern double
Double room - Top View