Campus Landscape Architects
When the University began its first stage of rapid expansion during the administration of President McCosh (1869-1888), the trustees and administration of the University had the foresight to initiate a Grounds and Buildings Committee and to retain the services of landscape gardeners.
1870-1875 Donald G. Mitchell, essayist, novelist, and farmer who had published a treatise on landscape gardening, was appointed to make plans for the improvement of the entire campus. Under the leadership of President McCosh, the character of the campus landscape became that of an "English nobleman's park," that is, open lawns dotted with trees laid out in an informal, not geometric, pattern. Mitchell is credited with the design of the grounds around the first Dickinson Hall and with the re-making of a front campus 760' wide by 270' deep.
1906 The Princeton campus lies mostly within the Stony Brook watershed. Four natural creeks collect water from its surfaces and drain into Lake Carnegie/Stony Brook. From here water passes into the Millstone River, then the Raritan, and finally the Atlantic Ocean.
The creation of Lake Carnegie in 1906, by the construction of a dam at the confluence of the Stony Brook and the Millstone River, marks the greatest moment of landscape change on the campus, transforming hundreds of acres of marshland into a 3.5 mile-long body of water.
1912-1943 Beatrix Jones Farrand had the greatest influence on the unique character of the historic campus. Farrand clearly articulated the function of the campus landscape as a framework for development and its fundamental role in furthering the goals of a liberal education. To this end, she proposed a systematic approach to the campus landscape that would provide uninterrupted circulation and views, emphasize the architectural qualities of the buildings, and provide beauty as an essential part of the experience of a university. Farrand cleared the grounds of shrubs and low branching conifers that would prevent views and circulation, introduced the concept of "two-dimensional shrubs" espaliered against building walls to add color and texture to the primarily deciduous tree palette, and carefully orchestrated the terracing of the topography to provide a sense of quiet harmony. All of these would become hallmarks of the Princeton landscape.
1943-1957 Alfred Geiffert, Jr. a prominent landscape architect of the great estate era.
1958-1961 Markley Stevenson of Philadelphia, known for his design of the Normandy American Cemetery "Omaha Beach" in Colleville sur Mer, France.
1961-1973 Michael Rapuano, of the New York firm Clarke & Rapuano, nationally know for their work on public and private projects of great importance and scale, conducted the first comprehensive tree survey and report in 1964.
1974-1982 Robert L. Zion of the firm Zion and Breen, Cream Ridge, New Jersey. Zion was responsible for the design and construction of Firestone Plaza
1980s-2000 From the early 1980s until 2000, there was a shift in the campus planning approach to landscape. Rather than a consulting landscape architect being on-call, individual designers were hired in conjunction with each building project—linked to the architects of the buildings. These landscape architects have included:
- Louise Schiller (new stadium, many sites throughout the campus)
- Skip Burke, Machado Silvetti Architects
- Carla Tiberi
- Michael Vergason (Shapiro Walk, Friend Center, and surrounds)
- Andropogon Associates (Frist Campus Center)
- Barbara Paca
- Sasaki Partnership (Forrestal Campus)
- Henry Arnold (Tree Study in late 1980s)
2000-2005 Quennell-Rothschild of New York was involved in a variety of projects on the Princeton campus, including the restoration of Hamilton Courtyard, the Carl Icahn Laboratory, and pavement systems throughout the campus.
2000-Present Public garden designer, Lynden B. Miller, was hired to continue the Beatrix Farrand tradition. She has designed gardens for Wyman House, MacLean House, Lowrie House and Prospect House.
2005-Present Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates is in the process of planning and designing the landscape–its overall structure as well as specific spaces–which will knit the campus together as it evolves over the next ten years.
Photos: Courtesy of the Princeton University Office of Communications and Campus Plan consultants.
© 2006 The Trustees of Princeton University. Last update: December 20, 2006