Design Inspiration: College Campuses

Touring numerous college campuses last summer brought surprising design inspiration that still lingers in my mind.

The old colleges are absolutely beautiful.


Cornell University

The gorgeous Gothic architecture of Cornell peaks out from the vast sea of green trees.


The classic architecture of Thomas Jefferson seen here at the University of Virginia

We saw beautiful building after beautiful building on each of the college campus we explored. What I really loved though were the less obvious design details.


Pathway at University of Virginia

This gracious serpentine brick wall, seen at UVA, welcomed you onto campus.


Charming gate

Also at UVA was this cute door set into a brick wall with circular holes to peek through to what was on the other side.


Unique door in Lexington

This lovely door was spotted driving down a street in Lexington, Virginia. It would look right at home in Florida or the tropics.


Entry to the chapel at Cornell

This beautiful ceramic Jesus invited one into the Cornell chapel giving just a hint that more treasures awaited inside.


Intricate tile mural and stained glass windows.

Here is just one view of the intimate yet opulent chapel.


One of many lettered doors at Yale.

I love the strap work on this door at Yale. That would have been special enough treatment for a single door, but then the letter B was added along with a window, metal kick plate, and assorted clavos.


Cast of characters carved into a stone frieze

Everywhere you turn at Yale, is another decorative surprise. This devil was one of my favorites.


Yale owl


Carved stone ceiling in an outdoor archway

Hogwarts-like details are all around.


Elaborately painted ceiling in a Yale auditorium.

Being a native Texan, I am, of course, biased towards Rice. I am so proud that such an amazing school exists in my home state. The spectacular campus sits within an enormous canopy of live oak trees right smack in urban Houston.


Subtle owls dot the campus

We saw owls again. Here they represent the Rice mascot.


Shady spot for studying or socializing

Numerous gravel areas with bistro chairs and tables lay in wait for students.


Cultured campus in a cultural city

Dramatic sculptures nestle into the spacious tree-lined grounds.


Ivy league building (Princeton)

The landscaping added much to each campus. There were beautiful flowers at William and Mary. Prospect Garden at Princeton University was in perfect summertime bloom. Simplicity, however, sometimes spoke the loudest.  Humble ivy climbing the walls of beautiful old stone buildings was quite picturesque. Clearly it has made a lasting impression as an elite league of schools is named after this simple vine.

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