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1.  Dazzling Dormitories at Princeton
2.  Princeton University's Past and Future
3. Sexy Ballusters at the Torpedo Factory

Dazzling Dormitories at Princeton

While at the Princeton Reunions last weekend, TBW and I stayed on campus in a dorm room. Five years ago we stayed in one of the old Gothic dorms with leaded windows and shared bathrooms. It was a surprise to TBW that the bathrooms were also coed, but she’s a trooper and just finished her shower.

This year we stayed in the new Butler dormitories (with private bathrooms). These beautiful buildings impressed us. I generally try to avoid curves in buildings, but the flowing brick shown below looked wonderful and wouldn’t have been a budget buster.

The dorms had two double bedrooms, a shared living room and a shared bath, so the space was used well. I liked the detailing of the windows and the heaters hidden by a rounded duct section above the windows. It seems a stylish and economical solution. The finishes in the dorm rooms were simple, but looked good.

If you are a regular blog reader, you know I typically hate green roofs as expensive and unsustainable. The one shown below didn’t make me a fan, but I must admit it was pleasant walking down the stairs and seeing the plants out the window. I guess I’m getting soft in my old age.

Princeton University's Past and Future

We spent the weekend at Princeton University for my 30th class reunion. No other college does reunions like Princeton. Thousands of people return to the campus for a long week-end of renewing and establishing friendships, fascinating discussions and great parties.

TBW and I had a sweaty and wonderful time dancing with the Party Dolls at the Class of 65 tent. Those alums were 67 years old and having a great time. Lots of 90 year olds walked the mile of the annual P-Rade and the guys in their 70s looked strong. It was encouraging to see how well many were aging.

On the other hand, the 5th year reunion party made us feel like we were on another planet. Though the girls dirty dancing with each other was certainly interesting…but back to buildings.

The Collegiate Gothic style at Princeton (shown in movies like Scent of a Woman or Good Will Hunting) always delights me. The photos below shows where I lived my sophomore year, as well as a sculpture in the adjacent courtyard that bewitched me.

In the 70s and 80s, they built many modern buildings that were just ugly. The Spellman dorms below are an example. A series of buildings seemed to have no style, just pure function.

In recent years, the University has established a nice design balance. For example, Michael Graves, who taught there for years, designed this beautiful entrance onto a mostly ugly building that totally transformed the look.

Another building I liked was the Science library designed by Frank Gehry. Generally, I think Princeton has integrated innovative designs with the traditional for a wonderful campus. If you are nearby, it’s worth a stop and gander.



Sexy Ballusters at the Torpedo Factory

TBW and I recently visited Old Town in Alexandria, VA to visit a friend headed for an assignment in Afghanistan. While in Old Town, we toured the old Torpedo Factory. Located along the Potomac, it has been renovated into an art market. They’ve kept a few torpedoes around as a reminder.

As a lover of all things beautiful, I was especially taken by the innovative stair railing balusters. The 4″ sphere rule didn’t seem to apply, but the design certainly made me stop and smile. And take a couple of photos.

Some other, less voluptuous, balusters also caught my eye.