Campus planning from composition to infrastructure
Parsons, Spencer W.
Master of Architecture
Historians classify American higher education into four periods: The Colonial college era to the Revolutionary War; the growth of colleges; industrial revolution and the expansion of colleges into universities; the scientific era; and the broadening scope of higher education. In terms of origin, planning process and form, however, institutions of higher education in the United States can be classified in three groups: Institutions which originated as colonial colleges and later on developed into universities; Post-Revolution colleges and universities; and the New Universities of the 1960's. The purpose of this thesis is to study campus planning as it has developed from the colonial period to our present time. Planning method and form is studied through case studies that examine the process of establishment and growth. The method of planning of each example is then evaluated in relation to its response to changing circumstances. These circumstances are the result of specific external changes occurring in society and their impact on the university's scope, size and method of teaching. The development of American Campuses from the self-sufficient college buildings of Colonial era to the formal composition of the Post-Revolution campuses is studied in chapters I and II. The new circumstances affecting universities' mission is studied in chapter III. Chapter IV examines the impact of the new circumstances on the physical form of the new universities. It also studies the concept of planning in these universities as it developed from individual buildings as units of organization to an organizing device, based on infrastructure. The formal plans of the Post-Revolution campuses were formulated in response to the existing demands as well as a projection for the future based on the present circumstances. As circumstances changed the master plan became detrimental to the accommodation of new demands. This thesis demonstrates that the new universities which followed this traditional method of planning became the victims of the same mistake. To accommodate present demands as well as unperceived future circumstances, the emphasis in campus planning must shift away from buildings to an open ended infrastructure.