May 16, 2001:
Last fall Princeton hosted
the annual meeting of Ivy League alumni magazine editors. The last
afternoon of the conference was a gorgeous autumn day, and we decided
to take advantage of the weather with an impromptu tour of campus
with me, naturally, serving as guide. Well, Princeton has
changed a lot in the past 12 years, but as we meandered away from
Prospect House I made a game effort to identify major buildings
and their functions. (I should mention that the group included two
editors who happen to be experts on the work of Robert Venturi 47
*50, increasing the pressure.) I was doing pretty well until we
got to the south end of campus, where I was confronted with a building
that had most definitely not been around when I was a student. In
an authoritative voice I announced that it was a new dorm
thankfully it was not Venturi-designed and hustled my guests
across Washington Road toward the new stadium.
The experience set me
thinking about the changing campus. During President Shapiros
tenure Princeton has undergone unprecedented growth.
If I had difficulty figuring
out what was what, how could alumni returning after 20, 25, or 30
years hope to recognize their old stomping grounds?
That question made this
issue of PAW, our pre-Reunions issue, the ideal time to take a look
at Princetons evolving footprint, as scores of alumni prepare
to descend on a campus further transfigured by fences, tents, and
badge- and wristband-inspecting proctors. Most of us are probably
aware that the former College of New Jersey was originally a one-building
schoolhouse. But the forces that shaped the look and flow of the
campus in the 245 ensuing years since Nassau Hall was completed
may remain a mystery.
Fortunately, they arent
a mystery to Ben Kessler, the director of slide and photography
collections in the art and archaeology department. Kessler became
interested in the history of Princetons layout while cataloging
images for the 250th Anniversary Evolution of the Campus
Web project (http://mondrian.princeton.edu:80/Campus/navigate_start.html).
I was interested by the way that the campus forms a microcosm
of the history of American architecture, he says. Since then
he has given lectures on the topic as well as campus tours to students,
architectural professionals, church groups, and alumni.
His story, Shaping
the Campus, begins on page 24.
By the way, on my own
little tour last fall, I was right. Scully Hall, an upperclass dormitory
designed by Rodolfo Machado of Machado and Silvetti and completed
in 1998, wraps around Butler Colleges 1922 Hall just north
of Poe Field. And, OK the posters in the windows might have