In The Architecture Issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education (May 21, 2010), Lawrence Biemiller articulates a convincing argument for addressing campus context in his article, "Your New Buildings Need Not Look Old". Biemiller's discussion ranges from the beauty of Jefferson's University of Virginia, to Yale and Bryn Mawr's Collegiate Gothic, to Stanford University's Richardsonian core, and beyond. While endorsing the value of these rich contexts, he simultaneously advocates for the value of building for today.
Perry Dean falls squarely in Biemiller's camp on this point. We believe that a building should be responsive to context, but not slavishly so. We believe that the two Perry Dean projects featured in the Chronicle's Architecture Issue, and in their online buildings and grounds resource, reflect this belief. First, the Goddard Library renovation at Clark University (pg. B14), respects the original 1966 John Johansen masterpiece, while supporting new programmatic needs and initiatives. Second, the Frank and Laura Lewis Library at LaGrange College (pg. B16), is an affirmedly modern building simultaneously respectful of the neo-Georgian context of the campus.
Biemiller tackles the elephant in the room - the question of architectural style and its place at an institution of higher education - this is something that Perry Dean tackles daily. Biemiller has better equipped us with his insights.