Heard on campus

"Successful campuses are defined by successful edges, the transition to where the real world happens-think about Berkeley, California, or Cambridge, Massachusetts," architecture critic Paul Goldberger P'04 told a Common Hour audience on September 24. "Gambier is different altogether: the edge is in the middle."

Goldberger, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his architecture criticism for the New York Times and who currently writes about architecture for the New Yorker, was on campus to deliver a formal evening lecture, "Cities, Place, and Cyberspace." But his Common Hour appearance the next day was devoted to a conversation about the Kenyon campus and the Village of Gambier, whose "subtle interweaving" he found "almost poetically beautiful."

Praising the campus for its beauty and "extraordinary majesty," Goldberger gave high marks to buildings ranging from Peirce Hall to the new structures of the science quadrangle. He noted that the sense of wholeness and community here owes a good deal to Middle Path, "the way it makes a transition from the south campus to become the organizing spine of the village and then makes a transition back to the campus."

He added, though, that this "powerful sense of the whole" has "allowed Kenyon to get away with some not very good architecture," including Farr Hall and Olin Library. He also suggested that the village "ratchet up its energy level" a bit. "It's a little too serene, a little too pristine.

"There's something almost unbelievably wonderful symbolically about a campus and a village where the major business is a book store," he said. "It would be nice if it weren't the only business."