View Full Version : A University in a Small City

July 3rd, 2006, 01:15 PM

July 3rd, 2006, 01:15 PM

July 3rd, 2006, 01:16 PM

July 3rd, 2006, 01:16 PM

Skyline now dominated by fat towers, like Stamford:

Buildings look just as fat close up:

This has always been a place with things poking into the sky. The old ones were slender and graceful; they aspired. In those days folks didn’t think height was bad:

At city’s center, a square of Green. This was the heart of the city’s original nine identical blocks. You can find the other eight, even though they’ve all been bisected, trisected or subdivided in four parts. The layout of nine squares is itself a square, of course, at about 45 degrees to the cardinal points. Very Roman, and older than Savannah:

After the Great Fire of 1666, Wren drew a geometric plan to rebuild London. A quarter century before, this city’s blocks had already been laid out. Two of the original nine square blocks are visible entire below, along with snippets of five others. All that remains from those days is the plan itself:

At about 800 feet to a side, these blocks were just right for an agricultural village and its deep lots, at the rear of which were kept animals. When village morphed into small city, frontage trumped depth and the blocks were subdivided. Even the Green was split in two by Temple Street, on which were erected --what else?-- temples. All three went up between 1812 and 1815, though in different styles; the two at right are colonial, while the leftmost is gothick. The battle of the styles had begun.

The other block visible entire is also bisected; the tall clock tower marks it. The front-most half is rightly called Old Campus and functions as freshman dorms, a couple of chapels and a few classrooms. A sharp eye can pick out two longish, free-standing rectangular brick buildings emblematic of the college in colonial times, when it was made all of such boxes --lined up and evenly spaced like barracks, while the infinitude of space swirled round them as in suburbia. The nearest of this duo is eighteenth century --a souvenir/survivor of the Old Campus’s wholesale re-invention as a vast defensible courtyard with Victorian red stone streetwalls. The other is a 20th Century reconstruction built to keep the orphaned original less lonely.

The half-square beyond is really two quarter-squares separated by a treed pedestrian walk. The rightmost quarter-square is further subdivided into six well-defined courtyards of various sizes that comprise two colleges: Branford (4 courtyards) and Saybrook (2 courts). The remaining quarter-square hosts smallish Jonathan Edwards College and the magnificent art gallery, partly by Louis Kahn and partly by some ancient architect from Verona.

To the northeast (right) of Elm Street, pretty much everything is university, while to the left it’s mostly downtown (with a few university encroachments, which helpfully provide retail ground floors). Bottom foreground: fat office buildings, kept low by the current NIMBY acrophobia.

A plan of same:

Having grown near-simultaneously, city and university are intertwined. Some commercial buildings even cross-dress in collegiate style:

A few Colonial-era houses survive on the Green’s northeast side (Elm Street). University uses them to greet visitors and alumni. All buildings in this picture are university-owned; the Green’s northern half is flanked by university territory:

The lower stretch of Elm Street’s Green frontage is town turf. It features august beaux-arts civic institutions (library, courthouse):

July 3rd, 2006, 01:17 PM
Folks got seriously rich here in the nineteenth century industrial boom. Guns, typewriters and widgets helped underwrite mansions, in which the local taste ran to Italianate. University now stashes academic departments and offices in many of these:

Italianate plus gothic equals Victorian:

Even the hotel’s vaguely Italianate; those stripes are fresh off the boat from Siena:

Those Italians!...

Hamburger may or may not have originated here; ketchup not served:

More upmarket, the Union League Café (foreground), an institution that hopes you think it’s been here forever --though it sneaked in not so long ago. The building dates from 1902:


Across York Street from the college, a student-oriented shopping district:

Commercial stuff’s not so bad. It’s all 20th Century, some much newer than you think:

When the university vaulted Chapel Street to the town’s side, it thoughtfully provided ground floor shops to maintain the street’s commercial nature. It helped that they hired a starchitect:

July 3rd, 2006, 01:18 PM
Some places, you hardly notice little knots of shops among the college buildings; they fade in subtly as Cheshire Cat’s smile:

Against the Green (the White?), however, the university erected a fort with turrets and a vasty Tudor gatehouse. It lacks only portcullis and moat:

A gateway of a different kind proclaims a municipal cemetery incongruously lodged near the university’s heart, like an unexploded shell:
”The dead shall be raised,” declares the gate of gloom. Don’t you believe it.

Elsewhere again, another starchitect’s academic building (far right) butts bluntly up against the city’s realm. This one offers no compensatory shops:

Church (Colonial) interrupts university. A delightful clash of function and style:

A little less delightful, perhaps; both these buildings convey a certain dreariness. And the wires certainly don’t help. For both university and downtown, this is banlieue:
Timothy Dwight College.

Looking fresh, clean, just opened, yet another starchitect’s commercial establishment –the university bookstore—finds itself attached to a college dorm:

How it really should look (non-repetitive):

In the end it all comes together, picturesquely, as a jumble:

…while from the university, it looks a little like…well, Stamford:

July 3rd, 2006, 01:18 PM

Before Italian there was Greek. It followed Colonial, and sometimes grafted motifs upon the older style:

In Greek Revival times, folks were merely prosperous, not rich. These days, you have to be prosperous again to live here:

Some row houses survived Sixties slum clearance, though swathes of this city were brought low by the man who went on to do it again in Boston’s Scollay Square.

Not really row houses, a few Queen Anne Victorians sneaked in:

And the Second Empire invaded here as in Park Slope:

These days we’ve lost our touch when it comes to row houses (and much else):
If you’re going to repeat yourself, let what you say be worth repeating.

Yet another Italian (you can tell I like them):

And Second Empire’s back for an encore:

July 3rd, 2006, 01:19 PM

Gothic was the last fortified style. Towards the end of its run, artillery was invented, so windows got bigger, since walls were now useless to keep out projectiles.

Still, the essentials hung around, eventually to be paraphrased by starchitects. You could mix Gothic with Brutalism:
Art and Architecture, Paul Rudolph. Currently being re-thought by Charles Gwathmey.

Or you could mix it with Deco:
Library, James Gamble Rogers.

You could do it straight, and try to out-gothic Oxbridge, complete with moat:
Iconic bell tower, Gamble Rogers. This university’s Tour Eiffel.

You could plunder distant Wrexham for its best tower:
Branford College, Rogers.

Or you could pull out all the polychrome Deco stops, like Hood at American Radiator:
Graduate School, Rogers.

Liberated by structural steel and veneer construction, you could make it hard-edged and glassy –precise as anything the Bauhaus could throw at you, but longer-lasting than stucco:
Classrooms and offices.

As a starchitect, you could even pick a not-strictly-gothic version of medieval –like Italian-hill-town—and fuse it in spirit with a prior structure beyond:
Morse-Stiles walkway (saarinen) to gym (Rogers).

Sort of like this (you get the idea):

The spirit of Hugh Ferris. Gothic and Deco collaborate naturally on vertical undertakings. When built in 1932, the gym was touted as the world’s biggest. There’s now one bigger in Moscow:

Bill and Hillary first held hands in a King’s College Chapel replica. This one’s filled with law books:

July 3rd, 2006, 01:19 PM
The second King’s College knockoff lurks Ruskinish and red at street’s end (right), half a century older than its fieldstone companions (left). In England, where the companions would actually be as old as they looked, it would be read as 400 years newer in its Victorian dress code:

The iconic tower once more: slender and well proportioned. The Dean of architecture transferred these proportions (and some detail themes) to his big one in Hong Kong and to Bank of America, Charlotte:

This little city shares a climatic phenomenon with Paris: often the sun breaks directly into a storm’s aftermath. Then sunshine on warm stone glows gold against a still black sky. Now and again a rainbow joins the show. Hints of this spectacle appear at times in the present thread’s photos, though clearly the picture-takers were frying other fish:

Against a blue sky, the stone’s tone’s much cooler:

Especially chilly is Silliman’s granitic surface. The only Gothic college not by the redoubtable Gamble Rogers, this one is also the biggest. It was cobbled together from a mix of pre-existing and added elements. At the near corner it starts out Romanesque. It’s also of dressed stone, grey, a little relentless and perhaps overbearing:
Silliman College.

But all is forgiven once you enter its courtyard because inside, the style changes to –of all things-- Georgian:

Modernist contextualism by a major architect. Afraid to actually do Gothic for fear of his peers’ rebuke, he sought its spirit --and maybe found it. This is poured concrete construction with huge aggregate scoured with a fire hose after the formwork’s removal:
Stiles College (Saarinen).

The only unapologetic skyscraper on campus, gothically vertical. This one’s clearly Seagram dressed in brick cylinders. No wonder; it’s architect had just been collaborating on that seminal modernist piece. Fortunately, this one’s isolated far from campus center:
Biology labs (Philip Johnson).

A final Gothic tower:
Davenport College (James Gamble Rogers).

Wait a minute…That tower’s not Gothic! Looks suspiciously Colonial to me…

July 3rd, 2006, 01:20 PM
That’s because Davenport too is Gothic on the outside and Colonial on the inside. For pastiche-meister Rogers, two styles were better than one, and for the budget-conscious, Colonial cost less to build. Inside:

There’s that Colonial cupola again, this time perfectly at home as part of Rogers’ close paraphrase of Boston’s Old State House:

Another view of the larger of Davenport’s two Colonial courtyards. The vast tower is obviously Independence Hall:

It’s actually the Dining Hall of adjacent Pierson College:

Pierson lies far back on its block, so Rogers cooked up an axial approach, appropriately Williamsburgian. This is announced by a gateway that Virginia’s governor would have admired, and it leads to Pierson’s Independence Hall replica beyond:

The path between, however, is Gamble Rogers’ tour-de-force. Here Colonial (brick) and Gothic (fieldstone) play peekaboo, as each fades in and out sometimes on the same building element:
Ties and jackets were once required; you couldn’t get a meal without them.

Once safely ensconced in Pierson’s Georgian courtyard…

…further exploration reveals the intimately scaled Slave Quarters. Rising seniors fight for rooms in this picture-perfect paradise of bachelor pads:

July 3rd, 2006, 01:20 PM

More than a dormitory but less than an independent academic unit, each of the twelve undergraduate colleges boasts a resident Master, a Dean, a dining hall and kitchen, a library, seminar rooms, squash courts, miscellaneous athletic, laundry and snack facilities, intramural teams, faculty fellows, a common room, traditions, several courtyards, and endowments for visiting fellows, poets, concerts or libations.
Davenport is entered by a bridge over a moat.

Master’s Houses:
Berkeley College.
Calhoun College.

Dry and intimate: just pavement, a bench and a tree. Linonia Court, Branford College.
West Court, Trumbull College.
North Court, Berkeley College.
Jonathan Edwards College.
Branford Court with Jewel Tower.
Law School: not an undergraduate college, but set up like one.
Saybrook College Dining Hall.

July 3rd, 2006, 01:21 PM
Dining halls tend to the baronial:
Jonathan Edwards College.
Saybrook College.
Trumbull College, with musicians’ gallery.

That’s also true of library reading rooms:

Medieval townscape at Jonathan Edwards:

Charleston at Pierson:

University Theatre’s flyloft provides vertical punctuation to streetscape:

Library looked better before it got a shave. Gave true meaning to the term “Ivy League”:

A little leftover money from the endowment. Hard to spend it all:
Cops and robbers on the Law School.

Even the student newspaper looks fancy”
Daily News, birthplace of Doonesbury, about to get a hulking Gwathmey neighbor to its left.

July 3rd, 2006, 01:21 PM

“Hey, all that stuff you’ve been looking at is not even architecture,” sniffed the modernists, “this is what architecture looks like”:

Or this:
Water table (Women’s Memorial) by Maya Lin.
Louis Kahn at the beginning of his career.
Interior of above Kahn building.

Across the street, Kahn at the end of his career, back to his Beaux-Arts roots:

AIA awarded this building a twenty-five year prize in 2005. Here’s what they had to say:

The interior spaces are well planned for easy movement through the exhibits. They frequently reveal surprising glimpses of one another. A quiet feeling of delight grows within you with the discovery of each new space, and the manner in which the whole is subtly revealed has an ever-surprising complexity.”

… a fitting summation of [Kahn’s] work and ideas… In fact, many of the most forward-looking aspects of this building … are adaptations of Beaux-Arts principles firmly repudiated by most ‘Modern’ architects… Instead of undifferentiated spaces, he created rooms complementing the scale and tone of [the] collection, never overwhelming it.”

Vincent Scully observed, “the effect is rather Miesian, and suggests a kind of dignified, if reductive, Classicism.”

Kahn believed that natural light is essential to fully appreciate the works contained within. Hence, the majestic four-story entrance courtyard is awash in natural light. That light is then filtered into the adjoining galleries through unglazed interior windows. Skylights provide illumination for the top-floor galleries; angled louvers and baffles in the truncated, pyramidal, concrete coffers block bluish north light and screen ultraviolet rays, admitting larger quantities of light when the sun is low than when it is higher in the sky.

The jury noted, “This building reflects Kahn’s continuous search for simplicity and the use of daylight to define space. It is one of the quietest expressions of a great building ever seen—so rewarding and exhilarating when you step inside. The materiality and the language of the wood, stainless steel, concrete,travertine and natural linen is still a delight for the eye.”

A monumental yet restrained civic structure, the Center’s taut exterior of matte steel and reflective glass becomes animated in the sunlight. “On a gray day the building looks like a moth; on a sunny day, like a butterfly”—as Kahn predicted.
“This building is a gentle urbane masterpiece. It offers a quiet foil to its more demonstrative
neighbors and, from the interior, frames and augments them. The small specialty shops tucked into its façade give vitality and continuity to the pedestrian character of the street:”

Inside and out, Kahn’s building is an essay in the use of the frame. Fittingly, it’s a picture gallery, where you look through frames into another world.

Also dealing in frames and their role in display is the Rare Book Library (left):
Lipstick by Oldenburg. Twin gothic towers: Law School Library. Gothic smokestack: University Power Plant. Blank white tomb: Book and Snake, a secret society. A Renaissance Ideal City plaza, where diverse buildings converse across rigorous emptiness. Chirico would have been proud, along with Alberti.

Being on tracks, the boffo Lipstick migrated.

Here Saarinen provides an alternative setting. This work transforms all spaces that house it. A truly great work of monumental civic sculpture. New York needs one of these:
Morse College.

Some time after the Lipstick departed, students built a little favela where it had stood –in order to protest apartheid. The plaza was a perfect foil…all that granite and marble. The shanties survived for a couple of years until an enraged alumnus burned them down. He was charged with arson:
Winnie Mandela City.


July 3rd, 2006, 01:22 PM

What makes this plaza work is that there’s nothing in it. Monumentally scaled in the French manner, this is the kind of space we in this country do rarely and badly:

One reason is that we think every space is improved by a few trees. That’s what Buildings and Grounds believed when they gauchely stuck them scrawny weeds in redwood boxes. I hope they’re gone now; I hate to see people plant weeds.

The mature trees at right predate the present plaza’s paving and go with the two sides of the plaza and the domed rotunda that are all suavely French. An unfaltering Corinthian colonnade serves at once as monument to alumni fallen in the First Great War (note battles engraved in frieze) and Freshman Dining Hall (Commons). The rotunda gives pause with classic bas-reliefs and leads to points beyond. Soufflot’s spirit permeates the Louis XV concert hall with its arched windows (right):

In the 1400’s Luciano Laurana seminally imagined diverse and noble structures of similar scale set around a paved and vacant plaza:

The idea reappears throughout Europe, especially in Italy, Spain, France, Poland, and even Germany and Britain: Piazza San Marco, Siena, the Campidoglio, Krakow or even Trafalgar Square --all chlorophyll-free. The idea surfaced in 20th Century America, only slightly compromised:

The central pit: Isamu Noguchi populated it with cryptic symbols, which must be very deep.
A kind of metaphysical gateway to Hades results. Eternity is on display here, and it’s inaccessible of course:

The pit also keeps truck bombers from driving into the rare books, and it helps the Library to float:

Well OK, it doesn’t float; it sort of hovers, actually.

Really, not even that. There are in fact four points of support, one at each corner; and the architect makes a big deal of them. The architect was Gordon Bunshaft. He preceded David Childs as SOM’s head designer. Difference is, he was much more inspired:

Anyway what appears to hover isn’t even the building. It’s the building’s tortoise shell, like an upside-down shoe box on four props. Inside, there’s a second building, a climate-controlled glass box pretending it’s by Mies. The box brims with priceless books:

In antique style, the architect’s own quaint rendering conveys this building’s Piranesian space:

July 3rd, 2006, 01:23 PM
The overturned shoe box is made of a coarse mesh of steel members called a Vierendel truss. Each cell of the mesh is about ten feet square. Grey granite sleeves then encase the steel inside and out. These ripple jaggedly as metaphors of structural stresses locked deep inside the dollar-driven, strait-jacketed uniform steel cross-sections within. Think of this as muscle padding on a scrawny Superman wannabe, or think of them as shear diagrams made manifest:

The voids left over are irregular octagons, and they are glazed with marble:

Now here is the miracle: Bunshaft must have visited Ravenna, for the marble is translucent!!!

The granite cladding expressing shear:

In the basement, there’s a reading room in the corporate style (SOM at last):

This looks out on Noguchi’s metaphysical ruminations:

Books as treasure:
Gutenberg, not once but twice.

Each box-like character that forms the plaza is a discreet individual. Together they make sweet music, for they are all equally fanatical classicists –even the nominally Gothic Law Library:

July 3rd, 2006, 01:23 PM

The idea to go Gothic predates Gamble Rogers. Ware and Van Brunt got the ball rolling in the 1870’s with a sharp-edged industrial Victorian red-brick version that would have warmed the heart of Ruskin. It was then it was decided the Old Campus would be fortified. In the new Old Campus, sturdy turreted streetwall was to enclose an expansive space. The streetwall:

The enclosed space:

The connection between the two, the new Old Campus’ gateway from the city’s Green comes complete with scrutiny:

Bucolically stranded within the precinct, a survivor from the old Old Campus. Conceived in colonial times, this consisted of bite-size chunks lined up like soldiers in a field of green. Only one survives, though it’s been joined by a 20th Century impostor. This is the original (or is it the impostor?):

The scene not long after the Civil War:

An academical quadrangle on a vasty scale. These days it’s purgatory for freshmen; they all live here together for a year before they’re assigned a college:
A survivor or born again?

Vanderbilt donated an especially fancy dorm, once replete with valet’s rooms. Courtyard oriented to the city’s main street, but not accessible therefrom; the gates are usually locked:

July 3rd, 2006, 01:24 PM

In the manner of St. Pancras:
Phelps Hall, Old Campus.

Rudimentary Tudor detail superimposed on Beaux-Arts massing:
Heraldic lions, heraldic dustbins. Wright Hall, Old Campus.

Two places in Italy: the Art Gallery bridge is from Verona, red-hued Street Hall (right) from somewhere in Lombardy via the Industrial Midlands:

Library’s courtyard seems remarkably domestic, like a squire’s house:

By contrast, the Library’s bulk is anything but domestic. It’s all pulled together by the great James Gamble Rogers (1867-1947), Master of Pastiche, who sometimes stirred a little Deco into his Gothic brew (maximum dosage can be found at the medical buildings on New York’s East River).

You can spot the Deco in his weighty tower of books, but this one comes with a little medieval town on the roof. When they had finished the (already sumptuous) building, they still had some money left over from the bequest --the story goes-- so…
Stacks and stacks, full of nooks, crannies and mouseholes. You can spend the night in the stacks if you’ve a mind to. Or maybe they now have surveillance cameras.

Inside is at once lofty and cozy, and full of light:

Rogers carried cozy in his gut:
Berkeley College Dining Hall.

And the inside doesn’t disappoint:
Berkeley College Dining Hall.

Christmas year round with the Smibert family:
Berkeley College Dining Hall.

July 3rd, 2006, 01:24 PM
Yet another flavor of Italian Gothic –Venetian—crops up on Sprague Hall, the School of Music:

By contrast, the same color scheme rendered in English Gothic (flamboyant):

From time to time I’m asked to show folks around this town and university. First-time visitors from the U.S. and Europe are invariably awed.

They know, of course, that the ancient-looking architecture is barely eighty years old on average; yet no one’s lips ever form the dreaded word “Disney”--in spite of the University’s status as a kind of replicar.

The reason isn’t hard to discern, and is in fact often discussed on this forum: quality. Simply put, the quality of the construction is so high that it matches its models in all particulars, and exceeds anything done anywhere today in any style. We cluck approvingly at 15 Central Park West with its limestone veneer precast panels, but from a construction standpoint, that’s cheap, commercial dreck compared with what we’ve been looking at.

These buildings are built to last five hundred years and their detailing is loving, knowing, engaging, sophisticated and superb; these are no cheap Disney replicas made with substitute materials and commercial techniques. Some might say these buildings are actually better than their inspirations in Oxford and Cambridge, for they incorporate some modern improvements in technology, such as steel spanning members.

Everything’s better than it has to be. Display cases are made of bronze:

Even the newspaper racks are hand-crafted:

Does anyone really need bas-reliefs in the architecture? Think long and hard before you answer.

July 3rd, 2006, 01:25 PM
Does anyone really need rare books?

Do you really need a Renaissance palace to house student activities?
Hendrie Hall.

Do buildings need moats? Do they have to be designed by architectural geniuses?

Do we need heraldry? Do students need fireplaces?

Do we need art museums?

Does a university need to own paintings like this?:

Do we need altars of books? Is this intellectual idolatry?

Do we need clubs?

Clubs for drinkers:

Clubs for singing:

July 3rd, 2006, 01:25 PM
Clubs for running the country (the world?):
Skull and Bones. The last election was Skull and Bones vs. Skull and Bones. Two of the last three presidents have been Skull and Bones, and all three were university alumni.
Book and Snake.
Scroll and Key.
Light and Truth.

Uh oh.

Photos in the snow mostly by Mike Parella. Photos of houses by Herodotus, SSP.
Thanks also to other photographers I haven’t credited. Feel free to identify yourselves.

July 5th, 2006, 10:49 AM
That's really an incredible tour. For some reason, I wasn't sure it was Yale for a while; those hills in the background threw me off. I've only been there twice (once very briefly) and don't recall seeing most of those buildings. A truly dynamic collection of architecture, and of generally high-quality, as you said. Still not sure about New Haven, though. Once you're out of the Yale area, things really go downhill (or so I remember). In any case, it's a poignant reminder that this caliber of construction & design has been getting increasingly rare these days. Still, a visit to most well-regarded universities leaves a good impression: academia is probably the last major industry to value architecture, both old and new, this highly.

July 5th, 2006, 11:21 AM
It seems someone has forgotten lessons learned at Yale:

Light and Truth.

Uh oh.

July 5th, 2006, 01:56 PM
For some reason, I wasn't sure it was Yale for a while; those hills in the background threw me off.
New Haven is in a trough gouged by ancient glaciers on their way to the sea. The trough is flanked by two Gibraltar-like formations, East Rock and West Rock. (East Rock in the photo).

Still not sure about New Haven, though. Once you're out of the Yale area, things really go downhill (or so I remember).
A typical Connecticut city. Lost its industry.

In any case, it's a poignant reminder that this caliber of construction & design has been getting increasingly rare these days. Still, a visit to most well-regarded universities leaves a good impression: academia is probably the last major industry to value architecture, both old and new, this highly.
Sad but true.

Which do you think is better? Old or new?

July 5th, 2006, 02:44 PM
The answer is, neither. While I've always had a thing for beautiful, old architecture, I also like a lot of the new stuff. Each has its pros and its cons. While classical can be more inspiring, modern can be more efficient and productive, etc. Of course, each also has its own share of crap, and I probably only like a small percentage of the total (although given how much more we build quantity-wise these days, I'll probably prefer a larger proportion of the old stuff vs. the new stuff). But getting back to academia: I've seen my fair share of campuses, and a good number of them had a lot to offer, architecturally. Not often do you see people invest so much in good architecture, and succeed so well in blending the new with the old. The school I attend is a good example. We have a lot of old buildings. In fact, most of the main campus is early 20th century Gothic or Georgian. But on the fringes, there are many new buildings going up - glassy, airy designs that are suitable to labs, big classrooms, and offices. In the middle are some remnants of Brutalism from the 60's and 70's. A few photos I found online:











Those last two are of the new art museum that opened up last year (by Rafael Vinoly). Needless to say, this campus is not as integrated into its surroundings as Yale is. Actually, it's not integrated at all. I don't know how I feel about that. At the beginning, I liked the isolation. Now, I sometimes crave to have a more urban setting at my doorstep. I guess you can't always get the best of both sides.

July 5th, 2006, 02:49 PM
Your campus has the distinction of Gothic architecture arranged in a Beaux-Arts master plan. Somewhat anomalous.

July 5th, 2006, 03:08 PM
Well, it was designed during an era when Beaux-Arts dominated master planning, especially of universities. Stanford comes to mind as another big anomaly of that trend. Not sure about others. Anyway, here are some more pics I found on Wikipedia:





The original (scaled down) plan for the main West Campus:




The Georgian East Campus:




July 5th, 2006, 08:22 PM
Which do you think is better? Old or new?

Of course the new has the distinction of not consciously imitating Oxbridge. Rodgers, famously, ordered acid sprayed on his buildings and their windows broken in order to get that worn "mediaevil" appearance that would otherwise require a few centuries' decay (or a few decades of lax environmental protection, as in Old Town Warsaw). Nevertheless, none of the postwar architecture would have much meaning were it not integrated so seamlessly and intelligently with its context; the distinction of these buildings is that they would be as heralded additions to Oxbridge themselves as to Yale. Indeed, judging from the expensive but severely detached nature of new construction at Cambridge, a direction such as Yale's would be a substantial improvement.

Princeton, meanwhile, continues to play Rodgers' tune; its newest residential quad is more collegiate gothic than the university's own best examples.

Despite the mixed results it's accrued from such experimentation in the past, I wish Columbia would consider hewing to at least some allusion of its current campus' beaux-arts classicism upon its expansion.

July 5th, 2006, 11:04 PM
Princeton, meanwhile, continues to play Rodgers' tune; its newest residential quad is more collegiate gothic than the university's own best examples.
Whitman College, Princeton:

Demetri Porphyrios, London, Architect. Winner of Driehaus Prize, a Pritzkerish annual award for classical architects (past winners include Leon Krier and Quinlan Terry).

Currently under construction:

The same architect's addition to Magdalen College, Oxford, 1994:
Love those skewly-placed windows in the gables. Authentic enough to fool some archaeologists.

Despite the mixed results it's accrued from such experimentation in the past, I wish Columbia would consider hewing to at least some allusion of its current campus' beaux-arts classicism upon its expansion.
I heartily agree, but which mixed results are you referring to?

July 5th, 2006, 11:46 PM
I guess most would consider them unambiguously bad. I think the International Affairs Building and East Campus echo the McKim buildings well when seen from the southwestern portion of campus. The law and business schools were probably the best pure sculptural imitations of the campus' classicism but were ruined horrifically by subsequent accretions that deemphasised their column-allusive verticality. Carman Hall was instantly disposable the moment it was built. Many believe that the Schapiro science building is the best new addition, though I feel it has something overbearingly fascistic about it. That leaves Lerner Hall as perhaps the best new addition; if only perhaps it would grow to a height equal to other campus buildings it would be able to shed its abysmal metal shed top and hide more of Carman (not to mention provide some desperately needed space of the sort that was sacrificed for the ramps).

Quite a few missed plans could have delivered higher-quality postwar architecture to Columbia, especially the 1960s residential colleges scheme, which invited significant opposition for, well, obvious reasons:


Interestingly, the university had a proposal drawn up to "historicise" its postwar building stock during the 1980s. The architect was David Childs of SOM. Seems a tad overkill, particularly the twin towers and the roofed-over International Affairs Building, and one can be reasonably certain the new law school buildings would have been quite a bit more "Disney" than Rodgers' Yale:


It would be enough for me, if Manhattanville is to resemble a vertical biotech park, if Columbia were at least to "brand" its nearby Morningside Heights constructions. No one objects when Princeton or Yale erect vaguely or neo-gothic halls in their towns (in fact their alumni earmark money specifically for this); why is it so atrocious for Columbia, whose campus is considered a local asset, to further articulate its architectural vocabulary, rather than "respect" the nearby apartment houses' puke-yellow brick by hiding new university construction in imitations of their shells?

http://neighbors.columbia.edu/pages/construction/homeSmall.jpg http://neighbors.columbia.edu/construction/past/SSW/main.jpg http://www.kbfgeneral.com/gallery/residence_hall.jpg

Better something of dramatic Koolhaasian bravura, in the absence of campus' classicism, than these sickly additions. Why build in order to pretend the university isn't expanding? The local NIMBYs only succeed in fooling themselves.

July 5th, 2006, 11:52 PM
^ Those buildings would all have been better if they had more closely imitated McKim's style.

July 6th, 2006, 12:07 AM
Stern designed the latter. His original proposal was more McKim-like, but shot down by CB9. Morningsde-Heights.net wrote that the original design was "rejected as inharmonious and loud by the community at a public meeting in 1998. We applaud the sensitivity and aesthetic good manners of the architect in listening to the community...This gracious revival of a tried-and-true traditional New York style wins hands-down."

Original design (hard to tell, but it was supposed to be redbrick with limestone trim):


July 6th, 2006, 12:13 AM
Another interesting find; could have precluded Yale's rare book library:


July 6th, 2006, 12:39 AM
^ Interesting find. Glad that wasn't built; the rare book library is a masterpiece.

July 6th, 2006, 12:46 AM
It seems someone has forgotten lessons learned at Yale:
Not sure he ever actually learned them.

July 6th, 2006, 08:13 AM
Alcohol & cocaine use can impede the retention of information ;)

July 6th, 2006, 08:40 AM
^ Serious charges. I knew about the alcohol. Is the other one for real?

July 6th, 2006, 09:14 AM


THE first hurdle facing the tidy-up team was to deal with W’s past drug use. As governor of Texas, he took a hard line on drugs. He supported increased penalties for possession and signed legislation mandating jail time for people caught with less than a single gram of cocaine.

Yet, as the claims of Sharon Bush, his sister-in-law, show, he could have been subject to jail time himself had he been caught “doing coke” with his brother Marvin at Camp David during his father’s presidency.

In the midst of an unfriendly divorce from Neil, another of the Bush brothers, Sharon told me last year: “He and Marvin did coke at Camp David when their father was president and not just once, either.”

As governor, George W had been very careful not to lie about doing illegal drugs himself, because he knew there were too many people who could testify to the truth. “When I was young and irresponsible,” he would say, “I was young and irresponsible.”

So what was his drugs record? When they were young, both he and Laura used to go down to the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands where they attended and enjoyed heavy pot-smoking parties. Smoking pot was hardly a sin but it did not mesh with the strait-laced image the Bushes were now presenting to the voters.

Then there were the allegations about cocaine. When W was at Yale in the mid-1960s, it was the most popular drug on campus. One contemporary, who insists on remaining anonymous, admitted years later to selling cocaine to W at the university.

Another man who was at Yale’s graduate school recalled “doing coke” with George, but he would not allow his recollections to be used on the record. This was not simply through fear of retribution. He said he did not feel right about “blowing George’s cover because I was doing the same thing”. A confirmed Democrat, he also said that although he could not stand George’s Republican politics, he liked him as a person.
Alcohol, the more familiar thread in W’s life story, started at Andover, the exclusive school W attended.


Book: Bush was arrested for cocaine in 1972

Texas author J.H. Hatfield claims the Republican front-runner did community service at a Houston center.

By Salon Staff

Oct. 18, 1999

A new book by Texas author J.H. Hatfield claims that George W. Bush was arrested for cocaine possession in 1972, but had his record expunged with help from his family's political connections. In an afterword to his book "Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President" (St. Martin's), Hatfield says he took a second look at the Bush cocaine allegations after a story in Salon (http://www.salon.com/people/col/reit/1999/08/25/geob/index.html) reporting allegations that Bush did community service for the crime at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Houston's Third Ward.

The center's executive director, Madgelean Bush (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/1999/09/14/drugs/index.html) (no relation to George W. Bush), had told Salon News and others that Bush did not do community service there, and the Bush campaign likewise denied the allegation. But the Texas governor had admitted to working at Houston's Project P.U.L.L. in 1972, and Hatfield says he began to wonder if that was actually the community service sentence. Hatfield says he confirmed those suspicions with three sources close to the Bush family he had cultivated while writing his biography, which publishes Wednesday.

July 11th, 2006, 08:32 AM
Howard Building, Downing College, Cambridge University.

A recent building by Quinlan Terry.

No compromises here with cost or quality.

Styles come and go, but a well-built building is here to stay. Much of Cambridge was built in the Middle Ages and is in daily use.

February 17th, 2007, 06:19 PM


At Yale, Renovation Puts Africa in Spotlight


Published: January 10, 2007

NEW HAVEN, Jan. 3 — Fans of air, light and it-just-feels-right in architecture will find everything to admire in the revamped and revivified version of the Yale University Art Gallery’s Louis Kahn building. Post-Kahnian partitions have been pulled down, picture windows uncovered. Rangy Modernist space — the space of the future when the building opened in 1953 — unfurls in all directions.

And for the first time I can remember, the famous coffered ceilings really come across as the leitmotif they were meant to be. Repeated from floor to floor, gallery to gallery, their deep tetrahedral pattern starts out feeling overbearing, then gradually becomes dynamic and a little hypnotic. It sinks into your brain. I saw it in a dream the night after my visit.

But what about the reinstalled art, in galleries that have been closed for much of the last three years? There’s fresh life of many kinds in this area, too, and at least one tremendous innovation.

The overall sense of renewal begins with a smart group sculpture show organized by Yale students in a new temporary exhibition gallery off the lobby. The work chosen, from Alexander Calder to Matthew Barney (B.A., Yale, 1989), all from the museum’s holdings, complements Kahn’s candid materialism. But it also — this is the smart part — offers a picture of Modernism itself as a shaky, flaky proposition.

Upstairs, several collection favorites, like van Gogh’s “Night Café” and Manet’s impossibly saucy “Young Woman Reclining in Spanish Costume” (so fabulous), have been astutely positioned. New items have been added to various displays: a brace of Persian miniatures, a recently acquired Pontormo, a spiffed-up van Dyck that someone found buried in storage.

Elizabeth C. DeRose, a curatorial assistant, has assembled a fine small show focused on a single Jasper Johns print for the occasion. The presentation is neat and thorough, as is its small catalog. The expanded 20th-century galleries, on the other hand, are sort of a mess. But, honestly, what can you do? The 20th century was messy, and so was its art — all those voices and egos! — which is why we’re nuts for it.

So you poke around and find what you like: an exquisite little Agnes Martin, an eye-snapping Ellsworth Kelly, a phantasmal Arshile Gorky and on the floor a green plastic “Home Sweet Home” welcome mat by the Korean-born artist Do-Ho Suh (M.F.A., Yale, 1997), its thousands of sole-scraping bristles made from miniature human figures.

And now we come to the innovation, and the compelling reason (Kahn apart) for making a visit: a big new permanent gallery devoted to the arts of Africa, with an inaugural display of a size and quality to put Yale at the head of the class, among university art museums, in this field.

Most of the art arrived only recently. It’s from a collection of nearly 600 African objects given to the museum by Charles B. Benenson (1913-2004), a New York real estate developer and Yale alumnus. And in addition to leaving Yale one of the largest gifts of art in its history, Mr. Benenson endowed a curatorial position in African art at the museum. Frederick John Lamp, formerly of the Baltimore Museum of Art, has the job, and he designed the inaugural installation.

Africa is immense and immensely, complexly diverse. Try to define its art strictly by region or culture and you’re in trouble. Existing national boundaries are largely colonial inventions. A; he produced a terrific multidisciplinary book, “See the Music, Hear the Dance” (Prestel), in Baltimore. Rather than narrow categories, he expands them.

As if in direct contrast to the compartmentalized European installation, he has left the African space undivided and open. Although some objects have been bunched into thematic units, most fall under two loose conceptual categories, based on the idea of art as psychologically and spiritually “cool” or “hot,” a distinction explored by many art historians, among them Robert Farris Thompson, with whom Mr. Lamp studied at Yale.

Coolness, connoting serenity and benevolence, streams from the powdery-white female figure in a Yoruba shrine sculpture at the gallery entrance. And it is the essence of a grand Baga dance mask representing an ideal of maternal probity. Exceptional in size and beauty, it is one of the noblest images at Yale, and anywhere else, for that matter.

Arrayed on a diamond-shaped platform across from it is a kind of flying wedge of smaller “hot” figures, several from Cameroon and Nigeria. Grimacing, twisting, generally making a spectacle of themselves, they project volatile, forceful, even violent dispositions. In the right hands, their energy can be channeled in a positive, coactive direction, and Mr. Benenson seems to have been particularly partial to them, judging by the number here.

He was also that rare thing, a connoisseur of the uncanonical hybrid in art, as demonstrated by the presence of a headdress mask of a water spirit from Sierra Leone. With its brashly painted face and serpentine body made of imported leopard-skin-pattern fabric, the piece is a hot-cool medley, sweetly fanciful but also fierce in the fashion sense.

Pieces like this stand well outside “classical” African art as defined by Western taste, and I’m told there is more, and even wilder, stuff in the Benenson gift. If so, I can’t wait to see it. (Maybe some of it will show up in a show of new acquisitions scheduled for September.) In fact, my single reservation about the new gallery is that it is a mite tame, adhering too closely to well-mapped ground.

Over the last few decades, scholars, and specifically scholars of African art, have been redrawing that map. They’ve scrambled, revamped and revivified all sorts of old-time either/ors: art vs. artifact, Western vs. non-Western, functional vs. spiritual. They’ve shown that sound, movement and touch, the very elements we police our museums against, are essential to African art’s meaning. They are the art, because they complete it.

Much of the redrawing has been through experimental exhibitions, notably those at the Museum for African Art in New York, of which Mr. Benenson was a founding trustee. (The same institution’s founding director, Susan M. Vogel, was director of the Yale University Art Gallery in the 1990s.)

Of course, the present Yale installation is just a start. Mr. Lamp already has interesting plans in the works. They will lead him, no doubt, to tell the African art story differently in years to come. And his successors, perhaps one of his own students among them, may tell that history yet another way.

I love art for its pleasures, but I believe it is ultimately about teaching and self-education. University art museums are where self-education for many teachers-to-be begins. This is what makes them such important institutions. They are safe houses for success and failure alike. (I hope the new African gallery risks both in a big way.) And they are workshops where intellectual space and ethical light should be abundant, which is why the reopened Kahn building feels so right.

The Yale University Art Gallery is at 1111 Chapel Street, New Haven; (203) 432-0600.


Brought Back to Life, a Modernist Gallery Regains Its Edge


Published: December 10, 2006

Modern architecture lovers should have little to grumble about with the reopening of Louis Kahn’s 1953 modernist building at the Yale University Art Gallery — it looks spectacular, impeccably restored to its original grandeur. But as a space for showing and viewing art, it underscores what is most troubling about many modernist buildings. To show art successfully in this building you need to take into account what you are dealing with — and it is a force.

The building is a masterpiece of simplicity of form and light, a sleek, four-story box with elegantly austere glass and gray concrete cinder-block walls divided by a central elevator bank and circular stairwell.

Not surprisingly, the most successful galleries are those devoted to modern and contemporary art on the third floor, where the curators have done very little to the building’s interior. The displays here generally sing, whether they are new-media artworks or late-19th-century paintings by Monet, Cézanne, Degas, van Gogh or Gauguin. In places, the curators have even hung valuable masterpieces directly on the concrete walls. And it works. The pinkish tinge in the concrete nicely picks out the violets, pinks and reds in the Impressionist palette, and the early modernist works of Picasso, Léger, Balla and others look right at home on the gray background, for they often depict machinery and urban industrial scenes.

Adjacent to the modern and contemporary art area is a labyrinth of small galleries with colored, temporary sheetrock walls devoted to Yale’s stellar early European art collection. This work has always been a highlight of the museum collection and still is, in particular the Italian 14th-century gilded icon panel paintings from Florence and Sienna. There are fewer of them on display than before, as I recall, but the quality of what is here is so good that it doesn’t really matter.

At times, the necessary introduction of temporary walls and floor cases makes the European galleries feel cramped and claustrophobic. There is also too much art on display, a problem shared by the African galleries on the second floor, where some 130 objects are crammed into 3,100 square feet of floor space. Here the curators have totally obscured the walls and the windows of the building with screens, daises and partitions, suggesting the limits of Mr. Kahn’s vision when it comes to the display of traditional or tribal-based art.

The new African galleries are, however, a vast improvement on the previous one, which was little more than a corridor carved out of the modern and contemporary art area. The African galleries contain the largest concentration of new acquisitions of any of the collection reinstallations, with numerous displays coming from the Charles B. Benenson collection of African art, acquired by the museum in 2004. Among these new works on exhibit are groups of important ritual figures and masks from West and Central Africa.

The purest manifestation of Mr. Kahn’s original vision for the galleries is on the entry level. Here the old museum registrar’s offices and gift shop have been removed to create an open, extremely inviting reception area and a light-filled temporary exhibition gallery overlooking a sunken courtyard, home to a meditative sculpture, “Stacks” (1990) by Richard Serra. The piece formerly resided in the medieval sculpture hall in the 1928 gothic-style Swartwout building — adjacent to the museum — which is slated for renovation from 2008 to 2011.

Left open and untethered, the renovated entry-level gallery has glass walls on two sides and concrete walls on the other two, with one of them a partial wall and partial thoroughfare. It is light and airy, and for now has been given over to a mishmash of modern and contemporary sculpture chosen from Yale’s collection by seven Yale graduate and undergraduate students.
Sculpture looks good in here, though with so much natural light streaming through the windows and so little wall space for hanging it is almost useless for showing anything else.

More art is in the outdoor sculpture garden, the hallway to the auditorium and also the reception area, most of it selected and installed by Jock Reynolds, the director of the museum. A terrific Robert Mangold painting and a wall drawing by Sol LeWitt, a Connecticut native, play off nicely Mr. Kahn’s signature trapezoidal-shaped poured concrete ceiling, found throughout the building. Here the architecture and art mesh seamlessly, breathing new life into a classic modernist building.

Yale University Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel Street, New Haven, opening Dec. 10.

Information can be found at (203) 432-0600 or www.artgallery.yale.edu.


Restoration Keeps With Designer's Original Aesthetics


Published: December 10, 2006

JOCK REYNOLDS, the ebullient director of the Yale University Art Gallery, pointed to one of the museum’s masterworks: a 13th-century Florentine painting of the Madonna and Child. Over the centuries, large parts of the tempera had cracked off. Painting new scenes in the gaps wasn’t an option, but neither was leaving the composition badly fractured. Instead, a restorer spent almost two years working with a single-hair brush to insert a subtle pattern, reminiscent of wood grain, that gently unifies the painting.

The restorer, Mr. Reynolds said, “quieted down the wear and tear, without denying that it had occurred.”

Mr. Reynolds could just as easily be describing the restoration of the gallery, designed by Louis Kahn and considered a masterpiece of 20th-century architecture. Completed in 1953, it was Mr. Kahn’s first public commission and Yale’s first modernist building. But by its 50th birthday the gallery was crumbling almost as badly as the 700-year-old painting. Among other offenses, curators had attached sheetrock to Mr. Kahn’s famous concrete block walls, leaving them riddled with holes. Thanks to nail guns, the walls “were literally shot up,” Mr. Reynolds said.

The holes are filled in now, but they are still visible if you look closely. Replacing Mr. Kahn’s walls wasn’t an option, but neither was leaving the building in its damaged state. “We didn’t try to make you feel that nothing had happened,” Mr. Reynolds said. As with the painting, he said, “we just wanted to calm things down.”

The restoration was a three-year, $44 million operation spearheaded by Polshek Partnership Architects of New York City. When it came to discerning Mr. Kahn’s intentions, it helped that James Polshek, the firm’s founder, had studied architecture in the building soon after it opened. (Mr. Kahn was one of his professors at the time.) Then, too, the original form of the building, which was initially Yale’s architecture studio and its art museum, was amply documented in blueprints and vintage photos. Those photos reveal the building’s glories: the west-facing wall of glass overlooking a sunken sculpture court; the ceilings composed of hundreds of poured-in-place concrete tetrahedrons; and the cylindrical stairwell, one of the powerful forms that makes Mr. Kahn’s architecture feel timeless. Throughout, the palette is surprisingly warm — Mr. Kahn’s concrete blocks have a pinkish cast — in a way that many modernist buildings are not.

But over the years, as the building’s functions changed, the building changed, too. To create more room for exhibitions, curators put a roof over the sunken courtyard. To add more offices, walls were installed where Mr. Kahn had intended open, loftlike spaces. And endless encrustations, from signage to bookcases (not to mention architecture students’ graffiti), had damaged nearly every surface of the building.

Some of the problems were the result of Mr. Kahn’s attempts to go beyond what 1950s materials permitted. On the window walls, Mr. Kahn used two layers of glass set into rudimentary steel frames. Over the years, moisture and dirt found their way into the space between the layers, taking the windows from clear to cloudy. In winter, the inner surface of the steel frames became so cold that water condensed on it. Students, Mr. Polshek remembered, installed drip pans to collect the condensation.

Updating the window walls, while respecting Mr. Kahn’s aesthetic, was one of the restorers’ greatest challenges. The new window frames required a “thermal break,” a gap, between the inside and outside edges. But that had to be done without changing the building’s exterior appearance. So the frames now intrude an extra few inches into the galleries — a small price to pay to keep moisture out of a building that houses priceless artworks.

The windows have been treated with coatings to keep harmful ultraviolet rays off the paintings and drawings. But the coatings aren’t enough; the architects also installed vinyl shades inside the windows. During my visit, the shades made the glass-walled galleries — conceived by Mr. Kahn before the effects of ultraviolet rays on artworks were understood — seem claustrophobic.

Otherwise, the restorers’ reverence is palpable throughout the building, where new systems, including a greatly expanded elevator, slip almost invisibly into the master’s elegant spaces. In the lobby, Joel Sanders, a Yale architecture professor and Manhattan practitioner, was tapped to design a gift shop, information desk and student lounge that could also be used for receptions and lectures. He created an ingenious series of furnishings that, while appearing to be built-in, are almost entirely free-standing. His mandate, he said, was to avoid making permanent changes to Mr. Kahn’s building.

That was the right approach. Yale, whose art conservators have brought many masterpieces back to life, has done the same for this one. “It’s a nice building,” said Mr. Reynolds. “Don’t you think?”


February 26th, 2007, 06:51 AM
For reasons that will only become apparent over time, Louis Kahn will come to be seen as the Twentieth Century's greatest architect.

He had a short career, like Gershwin or Mozart --not because he died especially young, but because he got started late in life.

February 26th, 2007, 07:27 AM
Stern designed the latter. His original proposal was more McKim-like, but shot down by CB9. Morningsde-Heights.net wrote that the original design was "rejected as inharmonious and loud by the community at a public meeting in 1998. We applaud the sensitivity and aesthetic good manners of the architect in listening to the community...This gracious revival of a tried-and-true traditional New York style wins hands-down."

Original design (hard to tell, but it was supposed to be redbrick with limestone trim):


:cool::cool: Ooh! The University's hospital!! :cool::cool:

April 2nd, 2007, 01:16 PM
Does anyone know where I can find ablarc's photos of the Yale campus?

June 3rd, 2007, 10:31 AM
Does anyone know where I can find ablarc's photos of the Yale campus?
They were gone for a while (server problems), but they're back.

Btw, they're not mine, they came from a variety of sources on the Net.

Stu Daddy
April 7th, 2008, 06:32 AM
Your campus has the distinction of Gothic architecture arranged in a Beaux-Arts master plan. Somewhat anomalous.

Thanks ablarc for the great photos of Yale. Fantastic! Never thought I would find a well annotated, concentrated set of pictures like yours. Also thanks for the dialogue and photos of Princeton's new Whitman College. Definitely agree that Duke's new Keohane Quadrangle falls short of the mark, but it's not complete.

Please help me appreciate what you and pianoman were discussing with regard to a Beaux Arts master plan. Maybe an example from Stanford or better, Duke (with which I am very familiar), in contrast to Yale would help me understand.

It might be relevant to point out that before the new Duke University (West Campus) was constructed from scratch, it was envisioned as an academic village in the midst of a forest. Now 75 years later, Duke's planners are having a hell of a time trying to preserve what's left of the forest setting. The Sarah P. Duke Gardens are a notable exception.

I take some exception to what pianoman said about the jumble and sprawl at Duke. Clearly there is the major challenge of managing any sort of campus cohesion throughout the medical centers and science/research complex, however all of this is outside the perimeter of the original residential and academic quads of West Campus.

The ugly and modern Nasher Museum of Art is fully segregated and cannot disturb the Georgian East or Gothic West campuses. (Still cannot understand why it was designed modern, except that it makes sense if your inside looking out and enjoying the art.)

Thanks again for a great photo blog!

April 11th, 2008, 10:03 AM
Definitely agree that Duke's new Keohane Quadrangle falls short of the mark, but it's not complete.
When will it be complete, and how?

Please help me appreciate what you and pianoman were discussing with regard to a Beaux Arts master plan.
All those axes, all that symmetry. Gothic planners would never have arranged things like this:

The original (scaled down) plan for the main West Campus:


I take some exception to what pianoman said about the jumble and sprawl at Duke. Clearly there is the major challenge of managing any sort of campus cohesion...
Do you by any chance work for the campus planning office?

Stu Daddy
April 11th, 2008, 07:03 PM
Thanks for the tip about the axes and symmetry. No, I'm not in the planning office at Duke, but I was recently studying the revised long term concept for developing a new campus between the gardens and the art museum. Part of the plan is to link to Edens and Keohane so that they are no longer at the bottom of the hill, removed from life on the main West on top of the ridge. This is where mention of completing and "closing" the Keohane quadrangle is found.

I'll try to find a link and post it here. Also, what's the best way to post images here so that they fully display? There are more pictures of Keohane and other newer structures at Duke that illustrate your good arguments why Gothic is hard to do on the cheap. On the other hand, I believe and you may agree there are success stories as well.

Successful gothic architecture or not, it seems to me Duke's conundrum has been the restrictions imposed in the late 1920s by constructing the new West Campus on a narrow ridge. Beautiful sure, but later expansion requires dealing with significant slopes and deep swales. This is great for the gardens, but the elevations of Keohane on the slope and Edens in the hole pose a real headache for the campus designers.

Anyway, there was a bit of an uproar on campus because the revised master plan delays the long awaited razing of the hideous Central Campus Apartments just to the north closer to the medical center. For years, the old master plan focused on this zone as the heart of a new campus helping to integrate West and East campuses into some sort of whole, which I'm not sure is a good idea to begin with. The heart of the revised plan runs along the forested drive leading from West to East campus.

Duke spends big bucks on this stuff, top architects and plannners, so I hope they get it right. When I walked around Keohane, I just couldn't accept it. Then again, I think the new Goodson Chapel, Bostock Library and CIEMAS are pretty cool. Again, problems with slopes and swales. I suppose the landscapes will mature with time.

Stu Daddy
April 11th, 2008, 07:36 PM
Image shows latest vision for new Central Campus. Note envisioned completion of West-Edens Link (Keohane Quad) at far left of sketch:


Sorry image so small. Click to enlarge. Here is the link to Duke's Central Campus planning project:


April 13th, 2008, 08:09 AM
Hard to find the good of it.

Stu Daddy
April 9th, 2009, 12:54 AM
Perhaps needless to say, but since Duke's endowment has shrunk by about a third to 40%, from about 5 to about 3 billion $$$, capital plant expansion plans have been moved from the desk to the shelf.

I guess similar cutbacks are being implemented at universities nationwide.

August 10th, 2009, 12:05 PM
For universities, it'll be like the 40's: treading water.