26 September 2007

collegiate gothic

I saw a neat story in the Wall Street Journal of yesterday, written by Catesby Leigh.

It concerns architecture and, in particular, the style known as "collegiate gothic." Despite the proliferation of modernist boxes on campuses, there is still an idea at large that the Ur-college building should have (Leigh's words) "picturesque asymmetries, crenellated towers, elaborate oriels, and eye-catching grostesquries."

The Hogwarts portrayed in the Harry Potter movies is prep school gothic, but it has such crucial features as the limestone and the high-ceilinged halls right.

Anyway, Leigh was writing as part of the Journal's Leisure and the Arts section, praising the architect of new construction on the campus of Princeton University. That architect is Demetri Porphyrios, who is scheduled to lecture on his designs today, in advance of the formal dedication of the new buildings tomorrow.

The new construction came about because Meg Whitman, the president and chief executive of eBay, donated milions to Princeton, and the new buildings, for both classrooms and dorms, were what the college decided to do with it.

The result? a resurrection of collegiate gothic, an "irregularly sloping landscape populated by an architectural ensemble that echoes in the imagination" and so forth.

And some of you thought there'd never be a good reason for a trip to New Jersey. Tsk.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.