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Sunday, 23 October 2011

World's most beautiful colleges

World's most beautiful colleges

 Scripps College
Claremont, California.
The total plan of this women's college, founded in the 1920's, has always called for artistic connection between buildings and landscape. Together, architect Gordon Kaufmann, in collaboration with landscape architect Edward Huntsman-Trout, created a distinctively Southern Californian blend of Mission Revival-inspired architecture and landscape, which is lovely, evocative and intact. An expert in deciduous trees, Trout planted rows of liquid amber trees to give the students "a sense of autumn" come fall. He also peppered the campus with tulip trees, sycamores, almond and orange trees, as well as rare shrubs.

    Stanford University
    Palo Alto, California.

Architects like Aaron B. Schwartz, Principal and Director of Perkins Eastman, an international design firm, praise Stanford for staying "cohesive" despite extensive growth, and for always respecting and staying loyal to "its initial design precepts." New additions like the Science and Engineering Quad manage to gracefully blend modern and technological elements with the timeless, elegant aesthetics of the campus' early California Mission Revival architecture. Architect Mike Evans lauds the campus' "continuity of materials, color and scale" over time. The campus also scores big points for its dramatic entrance via Palm Drive, its romantic Spanish red-tile roofs and myriad patches of green.

    Trinity College
    Dublin, Ireland

  Norfolk, Va., architect Mike Evans says Trinity is like Oxford, "only gentler, and on a more human scale." The most celebrated structure on the campus, which was founded by Queen Elizabeth in 1592, is the Old Library. Some have called the library's main chamber, known as the Long Room, a "cathedral of the book" because of its timbered barrel-vaulted ceiling and shelving that resembles side chapels of an old baroque church. The Long Room is also where the famous Book of Kells (an illuminated holy manuscript circa 800) is kept under lock and key. Over the years, architects say, the college has quietly pursued an enlightened policy of commissioning architecture from some of the best architects in Ireland and Britain.

    Tsinghua University
    Beijing, China

 Our panel of architects says natural setting plays a big part in assessing a campus' beauty. In that regard, this campus is blessed: Founded in 1925, Tsinghua sits on the former site of the Qing Dynasty's royal gardens. Many of Beijing's most notable historical sites, like the Summer Palace, are close by. The campus is peppered with artificial ponds where stone benches and floating lotus blossoms inspire reflection. The landscaping and many of the buildings are traditional Chinese, but the campus also boasts many Western-style edifices, such as the quad and auditorium: T. Chuang, the university's principal architect, was a 1914 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    United States Air Force Academy
    Colorado Springs, Colo.

 Kevin Lippert, publisher of the Princeton Architectural Press, known for its Campus Guide series, picked this campus because it is "a masterpiece of mid-20th-century American Modernism, rather than something in the traditional Collegiate Gothic or Oxford style." He adds: "Many of the buildings are clad in aluminum, suggesting the skin of airplanes, and the Cadet's Chapel there is often called one of the most beautiful buildings in America, collegiate or otherwise." The multidenominational chapel, pictured, was designed so that different religious services can be held simultaneously without interference. Courtesy of The United States Air Force Academy

    University of Bologna
    Bologna, Italy

    Arguably the oldest university in the Western world, the University of Bologna's actual "campus" is the city of Bologna itself, says David Meyerick, who teaches at Notre Dame's School of Architecture, and is currently designing a campus in Switzerland. "What the university lacks in personal identity, it makes up for in being inextricably tied to its environment," says Meyerick. Many European universities tend to be "embedded" in their home/host cities, which can be "a great advantage when the environment is an important, beautiful city whose origins date back well before the Roman Empire."

    University of California, Santa Cruz
    Santa Cruz, California.

    Housed on a former ranch perched above the Pacific, the UCSC campus offers open meadows, redwood forests and panoramic ocean views. Architect Natalie Shivers says the California campus' buildings and "circulation networks" for both cars and pedestrians "are carefully designed and tucked into the natural landscape" to preserve both the environment and the vistas. It's no wonder students like to study outdoors and that the campus has created 100 points of wireless access throughout the grounds.

    University of Cincinnati
   Cincinnati, Ohio

  Architecture students at UC (established in 1870) need only step outside the classroom to observe some of the more cunning modern architecture of their day. Kevin Lippert, publisher of the Princeton Architectural Press, says the school has positioned itself for the 21st century with a wholly renovated campus. Its master plan showcases major architectural works by Michael Graves, Peter Eisenman and Frank Gehry, among others.

    University of Virginia
    Charlottesville, Va.

 Thomas Jefferson said his proudest achievement was creating this campus in 1819. Jefferson believed that real learning could only happen in an "academical village" setting, and toward that end, he designed the campus around an imposing rotunda with a great lawn at its feet and 10 neo-classical pavilions (classrooms) lining the green. Professors' quarters were directly above the classrooms, so that discussions--and learning--could happen organically and freely. The Lawn is considered one of the great architectural achievements of the 19th century, symbolizing the harmony between professor and student and university and landscape. Today the university also features major architectural works by McKim, Mead & White, Michael Graves and Billie Tsien.

    Wellesley College
    Wellesley, Mass.

Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., this serene liberal arts college for women, on the edge of Lake Waban near Boston, is considered the crowning jewel of the prestigious "Seven Sisters" campuses. Architect Natalie Shivers says both "the historic and contemporary have always been beautifully integrated with the natural topography." And a recent master plan only reaffirms "the key role the natural landscape plays in the character of the campus." To wit: Paramecium Pond, (pictured) edging a rich, botanical garden through which travels a stream fed by nearby waterfall.

    Yale University
    New Haven, Conn.

  From a purely architectural standpoint, "Yale University has more show-stoppers than all the campuses on the list," says architect Shivers, even if the mix is less cohesive than others in the League, like Princeton and Harvard. Some of these more iconic buildings include Ingalls Rink by Eero Saarinen, the Art and Architecture Building by Paul Rudolph, and Louis Kahn's Art Gallery and British Art Center. Many other Gothic and Colonial Revival structures have delightful quirks and surprises. Landscaped spaces--quadrangles, courtyards between buildings, plazas--abound, offering lots of "getaways" for a decidedly urban campus.

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