snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > College

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 31 December 2008, 10:37 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is online now
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 108,359
Throw Tomato Failed architecture student designs college building

http://www.snopes.com/college/halls/alexanderhall.asp
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 31 December 2008, 11:04 PM
Avril's Avatar
Avril Avril is offline
 
Join Date: 07 August 2002
Location: Princeton, NJ
Posts: 9,497
Default

The emailer is talking about Alexander Hall's Richardson Auditorium but I don't think the acoustics and ventilation are bad. I'm willing to concede things may have improved.

Anyway, here's Princeton's story on Alexander Hall.

Quote:
Designed by William A. Potter in a Romanesque style, Alexander is rich in ornate detail. Although it cannot be considered a complete success aesthetically, the big, round, granite and brownstone building has always seemed able to meet the changing needs of succeeding generations and to accommodate many different activities -- student mass meetings, political gatherings, football rallies, concerts, lectures, and speeches.
More.

I always thought it was pretty. Pictures.

Avril

ETA: They do have an architecture program.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 31 December 2008, 11:09 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is online now
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 108,359
Ponder

According to Princeton, it doesn't sound like Potter went to Princeton at all:

http://etcweb.princeton.edu/CampusWW...er (1842-1909)
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 31 December 2008, 11:11 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is online now
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 108,359
Throw Tomato

Quote:
Alexander Hall holds an undeserved place of scorn in the mythology of Princeton undergraduates. Legend has it that Alexander Hall was designed by a student as his architectural thesis -- and that he received a failing grade for his effort.

Later, the story goes, this same alumnus got his revenge by agreeing to donate a large sum to the University, but only if the gift were used to construct his failed senior thesis project. A great story, but completely apocryphal.
http://etcweb.princeton.edu/Campus/text_Alexander.html
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 14 December 2011, 12:51 PM
Avril's Avatar
Avril Avril is offline
 
Join Date: 07 August 2002
Location: Princeton, NJ
Posts: 9,497
Default

Princeton posted this story on its Facebook page today. The article addresses 10 myths about the school, one of which is the Alexander Hall myth. The article is from 1999; it seems very persistent.

Quote:
Myth: For his thesis in the architecture department, a senior designed a concert hall. His adviser hated the design so much that the project received an F. Years later, after the senior had made piles of money in the architecture business, he agreed to give Princeton money for a new auditorium -- on the condition that it build his failed thesis. Construction soon started on Alexander Hall.

Fact: Alexander Hall was given by Harriet Crocker Alexander in 1892 to honor her husband's family, who had been alumni and trustees of Princeton for three generations. The building was designed by William Potter, who also designed East Pyne and the Chancellor Green Library -- now part of the Student Center -- and was not a Princeton graduate. Alexander Hall was the last Romanesque building constructed on campus before the trustees adopted the Tudor Gothic style. In 1959 undergraduates voted the hall the building they would "most like to see burn down." On a visit to campus, Frank Lloyd Wright is reported to have said that Alexander was the only building at Princeton with "personality."
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 15 December 2011, 12:36 AM
hoitoider's Avatar
hoitoider hoitoider is offline
 
Join Date: 22 October 2001
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Posts: 5,899
Default

Quote:
On a visit to campus, Frank Lloyd Wright is reported to have said that Alexander was the only building at Princeton with "personality."
I was about to shoot that down since Wright rarely had anything good to say about buildings other than his own. Then I looked at this pic and it is a very unusual building, like something Wright's mentor Louis Sullivan would've done.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 15 December 2011, 12:58 AM
WildaBeast's Avatar
WildaBeast WildaBeast is offline
 
Join Date: 18 July 2002
Location: Folsom, CA
Posts: 11,717
Default

I heard pretty much the same legend about Harrelson Hall at my own alma matter, an unusual cylindrical modernist building that people seem to either love or hate. I started a thread about a long time ago on the old board which I don't feel like searching for right now. In that version, the reason for the failing grade was "it can't be built."

Of course, when I searched for a picture of the building the one I decided to use led me to a bio of the architect wo designed it which pretty much debunks the legend.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 15 December 2011, 01:36 AM
Lainie's Avatar
Lainie Lainie is offline
 
Join Date: 29 August 2005
Location: Suburban Columbus, OH
Posts: 66,510
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoitoider View Post
I was about to shoot that down since Wright rarely had anything good to say about buildings other than his own. Then I looked at this pic and it is a very unusual building, like something Wright's mentor Louis Sullivan would've done.
Reminds me a bit of the Circus House in Columbus.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 16 December 2011, 02:55 AM
Graham2001's Avatar
Graham2001 Graham2001 is offline
 
Join Date: 21 January 2006
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 620
Default

I can remember reading somewhere a related legend. Supposedly there's a university in the US Southwest where the founders decided to save money by not hiring an architect.

Rather they purchased rejected plans from other universities and built those.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 18 December 2011, 07:05 PM
Errata's Avatar
Errata Errata is online now
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 11,799
Default

It's a little odd looking, but better odd than boring. Some buildings are aggressively out of place in their surroundings, but I can't tell just from the pictures what the location is like, so I don't know if that's the problem.

What I really dislike on some campuses are the Brutalist architecture monstrosities from the 60s & 70s. Pretty much any older stone building will win out against some ugly utilitarian concrete box. Some of the newer glass and steel buildings can be more stylish, although they aren't always.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:50 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.