The White Hall: The Aesthetics of Princeton Part V

Additionally, I visited the Woodrow Wilson School on Friday evening. Basically, it is the leading school for public policy in the country. As I previously mentioned, it is a political powerhouse that has churned out prominent politicians for decades. I cannot yet comment on the classes, but I can talk about Robertson Hall’s architecture.


From the outside, the building is rather modernist. On the inside, it resembles the nicer public buildings. The atrium is austere, but nearly everything is made of marble or finely polished wood panels. As I walked up the stairs, I could not help but notice the echos of my footsteps. It gives students a sort of “presence.” In the basement, I found an exhibit on Woodrow Wilson. There has been much debate at Princeton about his legacy during the past year. On one hand, he promoted diplomacy and ended World War I, but on the other he was blatantly racist, even by the standards of that time. This exhibit gave a full picture of his successes and shortcomings.

Visually, the building prepares students for public life by making them feel as if they are going to a government office, a very high government office, on a daily basis. It puts students in the mindset that they have to think and act like a public leader.