Josephine Young Case
Charge to the Architects and Planners, 1961
You will design a campus which will provide for both student and teacher a feeling of
freedom and wide horizon, and you will provide the physical opportunities for attaining
that freedom in the mind and that horizon in the spirit.
Josephine Young Case
You must allow space for contemplation and for aesthetic pleasure and for play; privacy
for thinking and study; and a pervasive atmosphere which will be at the same time
serious and gay, somber and warm, traditional and forward looking, made of time past,
time present, and time future.
How will you achieve this? For here the student must discover herself, and through
herself others and the world, and through others herself. You must provide for her a
place where she lives happily with her peers, and where she meets her teachers easily and
often outside of the classroom. Her living area as well as her study area must have books
always at hand, and art of all kinds, to be lived with. She must have facilities for quiet,
for civilized meals, for rest.
Teachers as well must have their areas of peace and privacy,
of civilized comforts and amenities.
For the main purpose of the College, you must design sites for serious learning. There
must be rooms equipped with every modern aid for teaching, including space for those
which have not yet been invented. But also there must be smaller rooms equipped only
with chairs and tables and an atmosphere of learning.
There must be large halls for outside lectures on large subjects, for these students seek
to participate in outside affairs. There must be the most modern laboratories and scientific
equipment, for these students seek to know and must know the newest developments
of science. There must be many fine studios for the arts, for these students seek
to create as well as to enjoy by seeing and hearing. And there must be space for the technical
and professional training which they seek.
Buildings do not cause academic programs, but they can impede them. Therefore, all
these learning rooms must be so placed and so designed that the campus expresses the
unity of knowledge. Access between departments must be easy, so that students moving
through this rich array feel from the first a single impact, and gather from the harmonious
interplay of disciplines some inkling of the universality of human experience. And
at the heart of the beating center, you must set the library where every book wanted is
immediately at hand, and a thousand others wait beside them to be discovered.
Other things too you must provide: a chapel, or better two chapels, a large one for
services, a small one for meditation; space for collections of art and science; for language
laboratories; space perhaps for a computer; for an oriental garden. And since it may be a
campus used year round, twelve months of learning, its planning must offer as much way
for summerís winds as it does shelter from winterís.
Daylight even in December must
flow through all its rooms, yet there must be shade in summer for peripatetic scholars.
One thing we do not want for our new campus and that is walls or gates. For we want
the world to enter. These students would not and should not have isolation from the
immediacy of current problems, however dire. Their concern will reach out far beyond
the campus to others everywhere; for awareness will be a virtue of this place.
Yet perhaps you should build in those woods one ivory tower. It might, in the end,
prove more important to this campus than a bomb shelter.
from Make No Small Plans: A History of Skidmore College by Mary C. Lynn
Creative Thought Matters.