News at Princeton

Friday, April 25, 2014
Hidden Iconography index

The character and beauty of the Princeton campus can be perceived in many architectural and design details, both large and small. A stroll across campus offers encounters with a variety of these treasures. There is no better place to begin such an exploration than by walking through FitzRandolph Gate toward Nassau Hall on the front campus. Here, at the intersection of the walking paths, is the University's unofficial motto, "In the Nation's Service and in the Service of All Nations."

Photos by Neil Mills and Alicia Mills

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Video feature: Bringing new perspectives to campus treasures

A stroll across Princeton University's campus reveals many treasures to be enjoyed by the attentive observer — ornate archways, official seals, whimsical gargoyles, flowing epigraphy and sculpture of all sizes and materials. This video offers a tour of just some of these examples.

Together, Princeton's architectural and design elements create a place of beauty with numerous clues to a unique history. The meticulous details on the walls of buildings are a monument to the fond dreams of architects and campus planners. Princeton's campus treasures are a rich blend of the old, the new and the renewed, and like great thoughts, they weather time.

There are many Princeton treasures not always at the forefront of our consciousness as we go about our daily routines. A shift in our visual perspective may be just the way to jar our consciousness and to cause us to quietly stop, look and ponder the stories behind them.

A significant part of Princeton's architecture points to the influence of Ralph Adams Cram, University architect from 1907 to 1929, who was the "high priest" of the American Collegiate Gothic style. A champion of craftsmanship, he looked for the labor of the human hand in a building, down to the smallest details. The University community and visitors are invited to explore the architecture and design of Princeton's campus.

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