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Author Archive: "Robert Geddes"

Make It New, Make It Fit

When I was 12 years old, Aunt Sophie gave me my first book on architecture: Sir Banister Fletcher's A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method. I think Aunt Sophie liked it because it was elegant and English. I liked it because it had 3,500 drawings. Originally published in 1896, running to 20 editions (Aunt Sophie gave me the seventh edition), the book is now affectionately called "the Banister Fletcher."

With a tip of the hat to Sir Banister Fletcher and the comparative method, this is a tale of two buildings. They are both at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, but they were conceived generations apart.

To understand architecture, it is necessary to understand the social institution it embodies. The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton has some of the characteristics of a university and some of a research center, but it is different from both. It has no curriculum and no contract research. It has a small group of permanent faculty and many annual members, but unlike a university, it has no student body. It is just a community of scholars.

The Institute was founded ...

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