New York/Princeton

Institute for Advanced Study • Princeton, New Jersey (digital)

I’ve been down to Princeton a number of times to photograph a new building extension at the Institute for Advanced Study, a research center near Princeton University. It is, perhaps, best known for its former illustrious faculty member, Albert Einstein.

Dining Hall • designed by Robert Geddes (digital)

I haven’t presented my pictures to the client yet, so I’ll hold off showing them for now. But while there I walked around the IAS campus and discovered remarkable buildings by architects Robert Geddes and Wallace K. Harrison. Harrison, part of the firm Harrison, Abramovitz & Harris, which designed the Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center and a number of bland international style skyscrapers in Manhattan in the ’60s, here created something sublime. Pictures to come.

West Building • Robert Geddes (digital)

Geddes designed a dining hall and adjacent academic building with birch garden in between in a style that is commonly referred to (unfortunately) as brutalism. The term has more to do with the use of rough concrete than of anything pejoratively brutal, but the public has readily attached the “brutal” misnomer to these often unloved buildings. The Geddes complex of buildings, however, is a relatively unknown masterpiece melding hard structure with soft landscape.

Dining Hall • Robert Geddes (digital)

West Building • Robert Geddes (digital)

These pictures, and those that follow, were made on the fly while breaking for lunch, not necessarily in the best light, and no interiors–the dining hall interior is spectacular. While continuing to use the 4×5 view camera for most of my assignment work and personal projects, I am now using the wonderful new Sigma DP1 as my go anywhere pocket camera.