NYC architecture is a veritable kaleidoscope of styles, and nowhere is that diversity more apparent than on the city’s many college campuses. With sights ranging from Columbia University’s Beaux-Arts architectural wonders to Fordham University’s neo-Gothic delights, there’s almost too much incredible architecture to feast your eyes on in this city. As we’re now in “back-to-school” month, we thought it fitting to showcase some of our picks for famous campus architecture…
Broadway & West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
This Harlem campus is filled with Beaux-Arts splendor designed by famous architecture firm McKim, Mead & White. The Neoclassical Low Memorial Library evokes Rome’s Pantheon, with its Ionic columns, busts of Roman gods, and magnificent rotunda. Another standout sight is the Butler Library, a Classical Revival brick and limestone building with an enormous Ionic colonnade and imposing, multi-story windows.
2900 Bedford Avenue at Campus Road
Brooklyn, NY 11210
Brooklyn College’s delightful campus architecture has been making the borough more beautiful since 1935. The campus was designed by architect Randolph Evans, and has a consistent neo-Georgian style. The centerpiece of the campus is the Brooklyn College Library, a giant red brick neo-Georgian building with an impressive clocktower. The wide array of red-brick buildings that line the campus are made even more beautiful by the campus’s lily pond and cherry trees.
Image by Peter Greenberg via Wikimedia Commons
200 Willoughby Avenue at Steuben Street
Brooklyn, NY 11205
This campus is made up of twenty-four buildings, many of them Romanesque and Renaissance Revival-style structures. A standout presence on campus is the Renaissance Revival-style Pratt Institute Library, a majestic three-story brick building with an interior designed by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company. Contemporary sculptures are scattered throughout the campus, making it the largest sculpture park in the city.
441 East Fordham Road at 3rd Avenue
Bronx, NY 10458
This urban institute has three locations in the city, but the Rose Hill Campus is easily the most aesthetically pleasing. Located in the Bronx on 85 acres of rose-covered greenery, the campus is filled with classic Gothic architecture that dates back to the 1840s. The most commanding building on campus, however, is Keating Hall, built in a style aptly referred to as “Collegiate Gothic.” It dates back to 1936 and features an ornate tower. Other highlights include St. John’s Hall, a Gothic Revival building featuring delicate medieval-inspired flair like buttresses and turrets.
2155 University Avenue at 181st Street
Bronx, NY 10453
This community college is an underappreciated gem of NYC architecture. The campus’s reign of beauty began with the construction of several Classical Revival buildings by architect Stanford White in the late 19th century. The result is one of the finest constellations of Beaux-Arts architecture in the country. The second phase of the school’s architecture was designed by Brutalist architect Marcel Breuer, and offers a jarring modern juxtaposition to the earlier campus buildings. Among the most interesting of Breuer’s designs is Begrisch Hall, a trapezoid-shaped structure with textured walls segmented into geometric shapes. Breuer’s Brutalist style was characterized by exposed concrete, rugged imperfection, and “organic character.”
Image via wagner.edu
One Campus Road at Howard Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10301
Wagner College moved to its Staten Island location in 1918, and since then, the 110-acre campus has been offering some of the best views of New York Harbor you can find. The most noteworthy building on campus is Main Hall, a Collegiate Gothic structure with an octagonal tower and domed roof dating back to 1930. Another standout building is Cunard Hall, a three-story, brick Italianate villa dating back to the 1850s.