Friday, January 18, 2008

Where has all the Gothic gone?

And really, what's going to happen to the Dinky and the Wa? I think that's what everyone really wants to know...

So after looking at Steven Holl's website, it seems highly likely that the new arts neighborhood will not be built in Gothic splendor. Alas. Let's just hope that the new arts center doesn't end up looking like MIT's Simmons Hall. Apparently it's a dorm. It's also apparently inspired by a "sponge"...

Actually, that looks a lot cooler than I remember it looking in person. As I recall it was an eyesore and my friend wouldn't stop complaining about it. (He took me to see it specifically to complain about it.)


Now, in other much more exciting news...
It seems that J. K. Rowling will be speaking at Harvard's commencement this year. Part of me is insanely jealous of my friends in Cambridge, and part of me is really skeptical. I love Harry Potter as much as the next insane person who got paid her brothers to wait in line so she could be one of the first people to buy a copy of the seventh book when it came out at midnight (I was number five...), but having read some of her interviews, I'm not entirely sure what she'll be like as a speaker. Whereas I know exactly what Colbert is like as a speaker. He's pretty funny.

Still, the ultimate question poses itself:

vs.


Princeton does look an awful lot like Hogwarts... Though maybe it'll look less like Hogwarts once the new arts neighborhood goes live.

6 comments:

classof10 said...

Sigh. Why does the administration continue to insist on imposing such insipid, mismatched architecture on our campus? Consider the new science library, Butler College, Fine Hall. Gothic doesn't have to be trite or fake.

What's more, the new arts center will be a terrible mismatch with its neighbors, Gothic Whitman and inn-like Forbes. At least it matches the monstrosity that is Spelman's architecture.

Martha Vega said...

Well, let's hope it's a little bit better than Spelman. I still can't believe that Spelman and the Pyramid at the Louvre are related...

Andrew Kinaci said...

Well, to call Whitman Gothic is really stupid, and shows a blatant lack of understanding of anything architectural. I.M. Pei designed Spelman, and he is widely regarded as a global architectural leader. Now Whitman can best be described a Gothic Revival-Revival, where Porphyrios decided to put some Gothic elements on a building, and pass it off as some cheesy quasi-gothic monstrosity. You want to talk about TRITE and FAKE? Frank Gehry is the "starchitect" of the present, so it only makes sense for the country's "best" university to go out and get the "best" architect. The nicest buildings on campus aren't even Gothic, such as Nassau Hall, or East Pyne. With a campus hell-bent on diversity, in this postmodern era, one would expect a variety of styles to be present, and it is only fitting that the University look for a more contemporary appearance to the arts community. The University has existed through many times, and Gothic architecture is the style of a certain time. I'm sure the arts community can please those who use it WITHOUT being Gothic, unlike Whitman. Whitman is "Gothic" for the sake of being Gothic, and has one of the worst laid out dining halls on campus (note that staircase). In any case, leave the architecture to the architects. There is no point in designing a building with an a priori style in mind if it will not serve the functions and the clients.

Andrew Kinaci said...

Additionally, we should honor our history while looking forward. There is no point in using outdated tools and methods in say...a science lab, so why would we do it in architecture? Simply for the sake of doing so? Seems illogical to me. If P-Rides or Public Safety started getting around by horse and carriage, would that please you? It should bother you equally that they keep getting new vehicles, as we get new styles of buildings. Perhaps McCosh should start bloodletting too. I mean it was a prevalent cure in a certain era right? Gotta get those bad humours out.

Jan said...

I don't make my self out to be an architecture buff, but I think the preferences among the student body are being misinterpreted. People would be a lot more aesthetically pleased with our core campus and other areas if the structural styles were more analogous. Right now, a real hodgepodge exists (Architecture building/Marquand Library near McCosh Walk, Wilson College, etc.) and many, including me, find that distasteful. In my eyes, a stronger architectural flow from the core campus out to the other "neighborhoods" as described in the campus plan, is much more preferable. Gothic revival buildings, which are really the trend of 1900-1939 and are quite outdated. Building Gothic for the sake of it is hardly engaging for the Princeton community.

architect09 said...

andrew, whitman may be fake gothic, but for the most part it matches that section of campus spectacularly. The problem is that modern architecture has gotten to the point where it refuses to look at the past, despite being embedded in its architecture. The architect has made the building his own personal island playground, at the expense of discord in the surrounding environment. This is why most people are less concerned about modern-style buildings on the eastern half of campus where they are more prevalent, but despise them when they fall in the middle of historic or retro buildings (e.g. spellman, new south, or new arts neighborhood between forbes, the dinky station buildings, and whitman/slums). People consistently don't like them, so for whatever professional architectural conceits or geometric abstractions they satisfy, they are still poorly designed buildings.