I should probably mention why I am writing so many posts on “the aesthetics of Princeton.” To say this simply: it is part of the experience. It is one thing to live in a community of brilliant academic scholars. It is another thing to live in this community and walk around a historic campus that looks like it. Every. Single. Day. In general, Princeton’s campus screams academia. This definitely puts me in the mindset that I have to think and act like a scholar.
I toured the century-old buildings on campus. Most of them were built between the Victorian era and the mid-twentieth century. First, I walked by 1879 and Marx Halls. The arch is named, you guessed it, Class of 1879 Arch. Woodrow Wilson lived in the room above it. At one point in time, these were student dorms, but they are now academic buildings.
A short walk to the south brought me to Frist Student Center. On one side it boasts traditional brickwork, while on the back it has a fancy glass addition that was added more recently to accommodate a cafeteria. This is the building that holds Einstein’s old classroom. Now, it has the headquarters for a number of student organizations, such as: Undergraduate Student Government, Women’s Center, LGBT Center, McGraw Learning Consultants, Office of Undergraduate Research, East Asian Studies Library, Theater and Cinematography Library, and much more. For those of you who know the University of Delaware’s campus, Frist is like the Trabant Center.
Finally, I ended at Guyot Hall, my favorite building. It is the home of the Geosciences Department and Princeton Environmental Institute. The atrium has the bones of an Allosaurus, among many other dinosaur remains. There is also a study room for students. The corkboards are full of flyers for he latest guest lecture or cool opportunities to do research abroad. Most walls also have glass display cases that are filled with mineral specimens from across the world. One wall has a stack of past senior theses. Occasionally, there will even be appropriately-themed music playing in the background, like Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.
Guyot is reminiscent of the golden era of exploration during the late nineteenth through early twentieth centuries when brave people ventured to the farthest corners of the planet. This “feel” to it is what makes Guyot my favorite building.