For a number of reasons, campuses merit special attention from the fan of architecture, including how — in a concise venue — differing design approaches can be observed. The earliest academic campuses include those of the medieval universities in northern Italy and in England, with Cambridge and Oxford setting the strongest precedents for what has become known as collegiate Gothic. Those of Italian influence (Padua and Bologna for instance) also served as models, but in a Renaissance flavor. These divergent sources from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean created a menu of architectural styles for institutions that followed; one pick one’s campus style, as it were, to be either pointy (Gothic) or round (Renaissance). A splendid example of the former is found just to the north of Capitol Hill on the University of Washington campus, whose historic core abounds with buildings of the collegiate Gothic flavor.
Like the other primary and secondary school campuses I have written about, Seattle Prep brings an important assembly of building and landscape to Capitol Hill. The school is unique among the three mentioned as it most closely resembles the traditional college campus. It is not associated with one splendid building as is Holy Names nor did it evolve in an organic and engaging manner as did Bertschi School. Seattle Prep is a planned campus of many buildings purposely built over time. Yet, within its planning, each building has it own unique identity and represents the prevailing tastes of its time, making the campus a great microcosm of larger architectural and academic trends. Continue reading