I am writing, as an alumnus of the Department of Art and Archaeology and an architectural historian, to express my disappointment at the scant coverage of the plans for the new art museum and departmental complex in the November issue. The proposed project will be the largest, most intrusive construction undertaken at the historic core of campus in the University’s history. I believe that the beauty of Princeton’s campus, particularly the central zone within sight of Nassau Hall, forms an important element of the fond memories and pride that many alumni hold. Yet, aside from PAW’s brief column, there has been no information provided to the alumni as a whole that I am aware of, despite the regular addition of high-production-value booklets that arrive bundled with the PAW.
I urge all alumni to watch the presentation on the design of the new complex available on the Art Museum’s website. You will find it a master class in sophistry, in which the proposed Brutalist superblock with its massive corrugated concrete facades is paraded as a series of “pavilions,” and even likened to “follies.” I have no particular love for the agglomeration of existing structures, but I do believe that our campus landscape and its sightlines deserve a more sensitive treatment and, to speak plainly, respect.