Forbes asked a panel of architects and campus designers to nominate their picks for the best looking campuses in the world. These are their top choices:
Middle Path in the Fall, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH
- Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio
Mike Evans, a principal at Norfolk, Va., design firm Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company, says to be beautiful a campus must have a "signature campus space as a carrier of the campus brand." At Kenyon College, that space is "Middle Path," a 10-foot-wide footpath that serves as the Gothic hilltop campus' central artery. More than just a trail, it's a village green for the tight-knit campus community. Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky, who teaches 17th-century poetry at Kenyon, says the college, both isolated and pastoral, is "a small place to think big thoughts."
- Oxford University, Oxford, England
Teaching within Oxford's stone walls dates as far back as the 11th century, and the school is considered a paradigm for all college campuses. With its labyrinth of quads, cloisters, and archways, it evokes elegance and tradition at every turn. "Its monastic roots and the spectacular quality of its buildings make it an architectural wonderland," says David Mayernik, associate professor at Notre Dame's School of Architecture. The famous Radcliffe Camera, built in 1737 as a Science Building, and now a hushed reading room for students, is "the most covetable university building in the world."
- Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
This classic American campus is "straight out of central casting," says architect Natalie Shivers, who has been guiding the prestige Ivy Leaguer through an ambitious expansion plan. Princeton's style is pure Collegiate Gothic; most of it executed in gray stone covered in, yes, ivy. As imposing as these old stone structures are, the campus keeps life on a "human scale" by preserving green spaces and "walkability," says Shivers. "Everything on campus is within a 10-minute walk." Sinuous footpaths, archways, plazas--all are designed to inspire spontaneous discussion and learning.
- Scripps College, Claremont, California
The total plan of this women's college, founded in the 1920's, has always called for artistic connection between buildings and landscape. Together, architect Gordon Kaufmann, in collaboration with landscape architect Edward Huntsman-Trout, created a distinctively Southern Californian blend of Mission Revival-inspired architecture and landscape, which is lovely, evocative and intact. An expert in deciduous trees, Trout planted rows of liquid amber trees to give the students "a sense of autumn" come fall. He also peppered the campus with tulip trees, sycamores, almond and orange trees, as well as rare shrubs.
- Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
Architects like Aaron B. Schwartz, Principal and Director of Perkins Eastman, an international design firm, praise Stanford for staying "cohesive" despite extensive growth, and for always respecting and staying loyal to "its initial design precepts." New additions like the Science and Engineering Quad manage to gracefully blend modern and technological elements with the timeless, elegant aesthetics of the campus' early California Mission Revival architecture. Architect Mike Evans lauds the campus' "continuity of materials, color and scale" over time. The campus also scores big points for its dramatic entrance via Palm Drive, its romantic Spanish red-tile roofs and myriad patches of green.
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
For the extended list, see slide show @ here