It is flatly uncharitable to believe that University Architect Ron McCoy *80 would make any comment in devious double-speak, deliberately designed to distract from and obfuscate what is now an overwhelmingly obvious observation: that the Princeton campus is overbuilt.
In reply to questioning about the sprawling footprint of the Art Museum (currently under construction), Mr. McCoy is quoted as submitting that the new Museum “... embraces the landscape around itself and brings that landscape into the room” (Is Bigger Better of Bittersweet July/Aug 2023).
But, of course, putting a roof over any space irremediably removes it from the landscape. That space, in being covered (by sheer definition) is now “structure.” In a stretch, one might call the space a garden room. But it is not a garden. It is no longer landscape.
An overbuilt campus is an unfortunate (but reversible) error in planning performance. Real leadership will take responsibility for the error and commit, over time, to making corrections (not excuses). The prior landscaping genius of Beatrix Farrand, the purposeful and pastoral peripatetic pedagogy of the campus, and the natural beauty of even the earth itself, warrant and deserve nothing less.