10 College Campuses with the Best Architecture

Photo by Rex Hammock

Architectural Digest has compiled a list of college campuses throughout the United States which have the most remarkable architectural traditions, which broadcast their innovative philosophy through design. A number of colleges have fully incorporated modern architecture into their campus schemes, for example MIT; while others have preserved their historical edifices through the course of the years, like the University of Virginia. The list involves some prestigious institutions, in addition to some surprises, all possessing their individual architectural languages.

See the 10 College Campuses with the Best Architecture after the break.

#10 Located in Bennington, Vermont at the foot of Green Mountain, Bennington College, is known for its free spirit students and teachers. Its architecture reflects this model to move higher education in a new direction, having works by Robertson Ward, Pietro Belluschi, Carl Koch, Kyu Sung Woo, Edward Larrabee Barnes and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects present through its 550 acres.

Photo by Sujal Shah

#9 Cornell University located in Ithica, New York has a long standing tradition as an Ivy league school, which is reflected in its classical architecture. Among Cornell’s rich, historical structures rests the arts museum designed by I.M. Pei in 1973, Sir James Stirling’s 1989 postmodern arts center, and a proposal by Rem Koolhaas for Milstein Hall, the new architecture school.

Photo by eflon

#8 The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York is a characteristic 19th-century redbrick campus, with a handful of historic structures built between 1885 and World War II that put Pratt on the National Registrar of Historic Places. This compact campus boasts additions by Steven Holl (above), as well as dormitories designed by Leo J. Pantas and Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM).

Photo by Corbin Keech

#7 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts continues to surpass architectural limitations to provide a truly distinctive campus environment. Perhaps the better known architectural feature is Frank Gehry’s Stata Center, with its lively and angular façade. Alvar Aalto’s Baker dormitory also edges on the peculiar, featuring a fluctuating frontage that plays with masses. MIT’s campus also contains Simmons Hall, designed by Steven Holl, which is nothing short of avant-garde.

Photo by Wally Gobetz

#6 Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, Illinois is best known for its founder and former head of the school’s architecture program, Mies Van der Rohe. He is the pioneer of the school’s way thinking, and is responsible for the site design and Crown Hall (above) which set the material palette of the campus to steel and glass. Rem Koolhaas’ Campus Center most characteristic attribute is a steel tube encompassing the lofted railway, and pays homage to Mies Van der Rohe with a glass visual rendering at its foyer.

Photo by Steve Silverman

#5 Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida is the largest compilation of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world. This modest campus consists of a gathering of midcentury structures linked by covered walkways to shield from the ruthless sun. The Annie Pfeiffer Chapel (above) is the campus’ most notable and prominent structure, featuring arrays of polychromatic glass which perforate the interior with gleaming rays.

Photo by Josh Hallett

#4 Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island has a ritual of traditional architectural practices, up until recent, with the addition of Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. This translucent addition to Brown’s campus, which is otherwise conventional, draws together progressive thought and architecture.

Photo by Andre Mouraux

#3 Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut contains a long lineage of architecture, ranging over 300 years; monumental gothic structures are intermingled with Georgian, midcentury, and contemporary buildings. Among its modern architects are Philip Johnson, Louis Kahn, Paul Rudolph, Eero Saarinen, and Gordon Bunshaft. The tradition of nontraditional work continues with examples from Kieran Timberlake, Sir Michael Hopkins, and Cesar Pelli, with a Norman Foster project in the works.

Photo by Flickr user: CanWeBowlPlease. Used under Creative Commons

#2 Harvard University located in Cambridge, Massachusetts is both the eldest institute for higher education in the United States, as well as one of the first to welcome modernization. The campus has structures dating back to the 1730’s, as well as progressive architectural structures such as Le Corbusier’s only building in the United States, the Carpenter Center (above). Josep Lluís Sert preserves Harvard’s modernist legacy with his Holyoke Center and the Harvard Science Center.

Photo by Flickr user: burt_frogblast. Used under Creative Commons

#1 University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia has a venerable convention of preserving its neoclassical architecture, implemented at its establishment in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. Possibly its most characteristic structure, the University’s renowned rotunda, with its glorious immense lawn, is responsible for deeming this a World Heritage Site.

Photo by Rex Hammock

Photos: Flickr users: burt_frogblast, eflon, giveawayboy, CanWeBowlPlease, Rex Hammock, Sujal Shah, Wally Gobetz, Andre Mouraux, Josh Hallett, Steve Silverman, Corbin Keech, Will Hart References: Josephine Minutillo

About this author
Cite: Sarah Edwards. "10 College Campuses with the Best Architecture" 31 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/159583/10-college-campuses-with-the-best-architecture> ISSN 0719-8884

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