Back to the Future?: The Aesthetics of Princeton Part VI

In general, there is a strong dichotomy in Princeton’s architecture. The northwestern portion of the campus is dominated by its renowned collegiate gothic style architecture, while the south and east display sleek modern façades. This split occurs around Whitman College. In one direction, I can see the castle that is Dillon Gymnasium, and the glass of Spelman Halls appears in the other direction. This past week, I set out to explore the modern architecture of Princeton.


Just a pretty view, this has nothing to do with modern architecture

My first stop was just across the street at Butler College. It features curvy brick buildings, and, like Whitman, it boasts air conditioning. Parts of it resemble the dorms of MIT. Butler  definitely has that cool modern feel to it. However, being surrounded by gothic dorms, Butler does not fit in.

Next I went by the Carl Icahn Laboratory. This building has a lot of glass. One of its coolest features is a series of shutters in the front that move with the sun to allow just the right amount of light for the brilliant minds inside to learn. There is also a weird black sculpture in the atrium that my RCA warned me not to touch. I believe that this building is where most of the genomics research on campus occurs.

If Icahn were a lake of glass, then Frick Chemistry Laboratory is an ocean of glass. The chemists at Princeton are loaded with resources! Their building is huuuuuge and has an impressive array of labs for students to use. Also, I could see the outside from almost any point within the building because of the shear amount of glass. It must be very bright on the inside during sunny days.

To get to Frick from Icahn, I had to cross Streicker Bridge. From the sky, it looks like a chromosome. Supposedly, it represents the connection between chemistry and genomics research.

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It looks like a chromosome from the sky

I ended my tour near home at Spelman Halls. This is where the MMMMMMF party happened. Some real shenanigans go on here. Spelman consists of apartment-style upperclassman housing. It is the most requested housing location for upperclassmen who wish to cook their own food. Dorms consist of a kitchen, common room, bathroom, balcony, and two bedrooms shared between two people. Another cool feature is a ladder system that connects the balconies. Technically, they are only meant to be used as a fire escape, but that does not stop anyone from climbing up to a pre-game party. There is also an interesting Picasso statue by it.


Spelman Halls


Picasso statue of a woman’s face in front of Spelman Halls

There are a few other modernist buildings that I did not mention, such as Lewis Library, however they were mentioned in other posts.