Of the Campus Center

Dear Sir:

As a historian and teacher of architecture I have read with both interest and trepidation that the University is planning to convert Chancellor Green Library into a student center. It is pleasant to hear that the building will be put to good use. At the same time it is certainly important that the alterations be made in such a way that the building can easily be restored to its original state if desired. For Chancellor Green is one of the very few complete Ruskinian Gothic buildings that have survived in this country. Its original color scheme — gilt, cast-iron columns, "stained glass" and all — is still almost intact as designed by William A. Potter, one of the most noted Victorian architects.

While nearly all of us no doubt consider Chancellor Green to be exceedingly ugly, it is perfectly safe to say that such a judgment in major part reflects the usual tendency to think that anything grandpa liked must be terrible. Yet in the case of Chancellor Green this opinion is already beginning to change. I happen to know that slides of the building are already being used admiringly in art courses in several universities. In sum, it is safe to predict that if the building can survive our treatment and remain reasonably intact for another thirty years or so, it will be widely admired. If it doesn't survive, it is we who will be blamed by the next generation, and rightly so.

Donald Egbert

Princeton, N.J.