IT would be impossible for me to express in any adequate fashion my deep appreciation of the honour you do me in asking me to supplement, in some small degree, the penetrating and comprehensive paper Mr. Warren already has read before you, with a consideration and a showing of that other collegiate architecture over-seas which, as he so justly says, is in its impulse and its achievement a natural continuation of British tradition. We have in America, as you in your colonies, the residential college the early, the perfect, the indestructible type elsewhere abandoned, and with great loss in respect to those results in character-building (and therefore national civilization) for which no intensive scholarship can ever make amends. The foundations of sane and sound and wholesome society are neither industrial supremacy, nor world-wide trade, nor hoarded wealth; they are personal honour, clean living, fearlessness in action, self-reliance, generosity of impulse, good-fellowship, obedience to law, reverence, and the fear of God, all those elements which are implied in the word “character,” which is the end of education and which is the proudest product of the old English residential college, and the old English educational idea that brought it into being, maintained it for centuries, and holds it now a bulwark against the tides of anarchy and materialism that threaten the very endurance of civilization itself.
From time to time we have yielded more or less to novel impulses, coquetting with that questionable lady sometimes known as the “Spirit of the Age,” accepting even her insidious doctrine that, after all, the object of education is not the building of character, but the breeding of intensive specialists, or the turning of a boy at the earliest possible moment into a wage-earning animal. We still hold to the damnable opinion that education may be divorced from religion, and ethics inculcated apart from a dogmatic religious faith, and having sown the wind of an insane secularism, we are reaping the whirlwind of civic corruption and industrial anarchy. I do not mean to say that we were alone in our error: you yourselves know that across narrower seas than the Atlantic the same is true, and in greater degree, while even here, in these narrow islands that so often have been the last refuge and stronghold of Christian civilization, I have heard strange rumours of those who would sacrifice Latin and Greek and the humanities to applied science and vocational training; who would drive the very name of religion from the schools ; who would, in the ringing words of an eminent French statesman, “put out the lights in heaven,” and, to quote Karl Marx, “destroy the idea of God which is the keystone of a ‘perverted civilization.” We have, I think, rather got beyond taking this sort of thing seriously, and I doubt if you ever will do so even for a moment ; for when we stop doing things long enough to think, we all realize that, as the Dean of St. Paul’s has recently said, “The real test of progress is the kind of people that a country turns out,” and the product of secularized and intensive education is not of a quality that develops in sane and healthy minds a sense either of covetousness or emulation.
So, in spite of our backing and filling, we are, I think, in America, well beyond the turn of the tide. I myself have seen it at its flood, and I have seen the ebb begin. It is not so long ago that our ideal seemed to be a kind of so-called education that might be labelled “made in Ger-many”: we prescribed nothing, and accepted anything a freshman in his wisdom might elect; we joined schools of dental surgery and “business science” (whatever that may be) and journalism and farriery to our august universities; we ignored Greek and smiled at Latin; we tried to teach theology on an undogmatic basis (an idea not without humour), and we cut out religious worship altogether. It was all evanescent, however; now the “free electives” are passing, even at Harvard where they began and ran full riot; at Princeton the preceptorial system has been restored, and is coming elsewhere; there, also, a great college chapel is contemplated, while at the University of Chicago one is about to be built at a cost of some three hundred thousand pounds. Everywhere residential quads are coming into existence : one ancient college Amherst is considering abandoning all its scientific schools and falling back on the sound old classical basis, while lately our own American Institute of Architects has endorsed the principle that our schools of architecture should grant degrees only to those reasonably proficient in Latin.
And so we return step by step to the old ideals and sound methods of English colleges ; return to the mother that bore us, just as we return year after year to our old home for refreshment and inspiration; return, even in a wider sense, to those eternally battered but eternally enduring principles in life and thought and aspiration which make up the great Anglo-Saxon heritage of which we proudly claim to be joint heirs with yourselves. And in this return we find our-selves recurring once more to the very forms of the architecture or rather, we hope, to its underlying spirit through which this great tradition has manifested itself. In our earliest days we followed, as closely as we could, the work going on at home; then we yielded to our new nationality and wandered off after strange gods, some of them very strange, indeed, expressing our experiments in experimental styles until the last shadow of a memory of England seemed wholly gone; and then, as the last flicker died, behold a new restoration! for with the reaction toward a broader culture comes the return to the architecture of Eton and Winchester, Oxford and Cambridge, that so fully expressed that very culture itself.
Consider for a moment and you will see that no other course was possible: not because the fifteenth and sixteenth and early seventeenth century collegiate architecture of England is the most perfect style ever devised by man to this particular end. It is this, of course, but the real reason for our return lies deeper, and it is simply that it is the only style that absolutely expresses our new-old, crescent ideals of an education that makes for culture and makes for character. I myself have been coming back to Oxford and Cambridge year after year now for a full generation, others for even longer terms; and every year I send, from my own and from other offices, boys and young men, to the same shrines of causes, not lost, but gone before, who are all of them beginning the same cycle of periodicity that has marked the lives of their elders; and to all of us, young and old, these gray and wonderful cities mean, not great art alone, but, even more, the greater impulse that incarnated itself in such personalities as Duns Scotus and Henry V; Sir Philip Sidney and Sir Walter Raleigh; Grocyn, Linacre, and Erasmus; Laud, and Strafford and Falkland; Hampden and Cromwell, the Duke of Wellington, John Keble, and Cardinal Newman. For one thing we know, at least, and that is that architecture, together with all art, is no matter of fashion or predilection, no vain but desirable amenity of life, but rather an unerring though perishable record of civilization, more exact than written history, and the only perfect showing of the civilization of a time. By its fruitage of art we know the tree of life, and further we know that this fruit is not seedless, but the guaranty of life to such ages as use it rightly. We love it for what it is in itself; more for what it reveals to us of a great past; most of all, for what it promises our future. Art has dynamic potency; it records, indeed, but it is evocative also; and we who would have Sidneys and Straffords and Newmans to redeem and defend and ennoble our civilization use the architecture that is their voicing that it may recreate their spirit in a later age and in a distant but, not alien land.
So much, then, by way of the introduction you did not bring me over-seas to say; and now let us turn to the work itself of which you expect me to speak.
And first of all let me show you from Harvard one or two examples of what we did for a beginning. It was n’t very much, I suppose, but we care for it extremely, just because it spells our own brief antiquity, while it was honest and sincere, and not without a certain pathetic element of far-away longing for an old but not forgotten home. English it was, of course, so far as we could make it, for we were all English, or rather British, in bone and blood and tradition, down to half a century ago. The old artistic impulse that had remained with man from the beginning was slowly dying, for the first time in recorded history; it had been losing vitality ever since the Renaissance and Reformation, but it was still instinctive, and so remained until that Revolution, which included so much more than the French Terror, came to give it its quietus. This day or night was still far off, and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there was still exquisite delicacy and refinement and wealth of invention. I wish I could show you some proofs of this in the shape of domestic and ecclesiastical work from Massachusetts Bay Colony, and Virginia and Maryland and the Carolinas, for it is true that little of this appears in our collegiate work. Here funds were scant and dearly obtained, while the planters of the South and the great merchants of the North were more lavish in their outlay; as it is, our early college buildings make their appeal through their fine proportions and their frank simplicity.
Of course practically all the seventeenth-century work, and nine-tenths of that of the eighteenth is gone, including much of the best, and we must recreate our vision of the past from shreds and patches; but fortunately at Harvard there remains a notable group that has yielded neither to vandalism nor conflagration. As you will see from the plan of the old “Yard,” the typical English quadrangular arrangement was abandoned for a grouping of isolated buildings, at first more or less formal, then developing into final chaos as other men with other minds came on the scene and placed their buildings, and designed them also, at their own sweet will. As for the material, it was almost invariably brick, at first imported from the old country, for the visible stone supply in New England was intractible granite, and even where a kinder material was available, there was in the beginning little skill in cutting, and later little money to pay for the labour involved. With few exceptions the trimmings of doors and windows and cornices were of delicately moulded wood painted white, the Vignolan laws as to proportion being intelligently modified to fit the new material, while the roofs were covered with split shingles.
The first evidence of decadence appears, I think, in the advent of that more pompous style Jefferson did so much to advance. Hitherto what had been done was done simply and unaffectedly; now came the conscious desire for architecture, which is a dangerous ambition at best. At the University of Virginia we have the original setting out, almost intact, and if we deplore the unnecessarily unreasonable classical porticoes, with columns, entablatures, and pediments complete, and all built of deal boards framed up in the semblance of a newly discovered paganism, we must admit the great dignity of the plan and the singular charm of the ensemble.
This ” Jeffersonian” style rapidly took the place of the old Georgian, but its day was brief; and somewhere between 1820 and 1830 occurred that ominous point when the last flickering tradition of good taste and the last weak impulse of instinctive art vanished, and the new era began wherein the desires and predilections of society as a whole were no longer for good things and beautiful things, but explicitly and even clamorously for bad things and ugly things, while the uncertain offices of the architect were the only agencies that from time to time redeemed the general chaos.
Fortunately, there was little collegiate building with us during this dismal second quarter of the nineteenth century, or rather, and also fortunately, little of it has survived ; and when first the architect appears on the scene as the mentor rather than the exemplar of public opinion, it is in novel guise, nothing less, in-deed, than as the protagonist of Gothic. He was not very Gothic, I must admit, and in the beginning he contented himself with a few apologetic and quite casual buttresses, pointed arches over his door and window openings, an octagonal turret or two, and of course battlements, usually of two-inch deal neatly painted, and sometimes sprinkled with sand as a concession to appearances. What took place in domestic and ecclesiastical architecture, I dare not even reveal to you, but the college work was a shade less horrific; for sometimes, as at West Point, it was of stone, and good stone work will cover a multitude of sins as it still does in our own day and generation, I believe.
Perhaps it is hardly fair to attribute this first “Gothic” to architects; really it was the work of the ambitious builder who, after crystallizing under the immortal Batty Langley’s handbooks on classical architecture, suddenly expanded with almost explosive force beneath the influence of that amazing work of the same gifted author wherein he reduces Gothic also to a system of “orders” and demonstrates how by a few simple rules one can easily learn to produce “genteel, and appropriate Structures in the Gothic Taste.” But the Oxford Movement and Pugin’s Gothic Revival soon passed beyond the admirable Batty Langley, and the influence of Pugin himself entered America, largely through a really great architect, Upjohn. I think he did no collegiate work, but John Ruskin produced those that did, and from the close of our War between the States down to about 1880, the new Gothic that expressed his really enormous influence might be said to have run riot through our colleges. There were those like Renwick and Congdon, and Mr. Haight (who is still living), that held conscientiously to the grave and archæological type established by the Pugins; there were others who tried to incorporate Ruskinian doctrines in more personal, original, and mobile work, as Blomfield and Butterfield were doing here in England. The results were at least lacking in monotony, but few of them achieved the simplicity and the dignity of Mr. Haight’s work, while many of them reached a point of violence and anarchy hardly to be matched in history.
It was all a “false dawn,” however, and ceased almost in a moment (though for a brief period only, as we shall see) when that great genius and greater personality, Richardson, flashed like an unpredicted comet across the sky. The later seventies were desperate, no less; and the group of conscientious men could not withstand the flood of falsity and bad taste and artificiality that involved the whole art of architecture. Richardson alone turned the tide, brushed away the whole card-house of artifice, and deliberately forced a new and alien style on a bewildered people. He did great work, some of it immortal work, in his powerful mode; but he died before his mission was accomplished, and though he killed the “French roof style” and the futile Gothic, and all the other absurdities, he left behind no one of his own calibre to carry on the crusade, but instead a multitude of imitators who, though at first doing fine work under the memory and inspiration of their master, gradually turned away into other fields, leaving the Romanesque propaganda to the most inadequate exponents imaginable. For a decade we wallowed in lilliputian cyclopeanism, and then, to change the simile, the summer storm swept west and south, and over the desolation it had left loomed, almost simultaneously, three new tendencies, Colonial, Perpendicular Gothic, and “Beaux Arts. Three less well-assorted bedfellows it would be hard to find, but with a magnanimity rare in history these three rivals more or less succeeded in establishing a modus vivendi, Colonial taking over part of the new, and again triply divided, Gaul, in the shape of domestic work; Gothic annexing, so far as it could, all collegiate, scholastic, and ecclesiastical building; while to the Beaux Arts propaganda fell all it could get of the rest particularly Carnegie libraries, town houses, and banks. As a matter of fact, this partitioning of architectural activity was not the result of amity, nor was it in the least definitive : the Colonial style claimed the patronage of our nonconformist brethren (with show of reason and propriety), Gothic tried vainly to break into the library fold, while the Beaux Arts architects made unavailing eyes at the Church, and, indeed, claimed everything in sight. Their pretensions did not go without questioning, however, for in the mean time the old and most classical Classic was re-born (it had never wholly died), and at the hands of that great man, Charles McKim, it suddenly achieved a height of serene nobility where it could and did challenge the claims of its rivals. And there were other claimants for the architectural crown now so completely “in commission”: there was the Spanish pretender with its doubtful offspring, the quaintly denominated “Mission style”; there was the secessionist Americanism of the inspired but unguarded Mr. Sullivan; there was a kind of neo-Byzantinism; there was a hidden but persistent Japanese propaganda. In fact I was wrong when I said that the architectural Gaul was divided into three parts : it is not such a triple partition that confronts us now, it is an omnivorous eclecticism that bears some of the ear-marks of anarchy. To use one of our own phrases, “everything goes,” and much of it goes exceedingly well, amazingly so, in fact; but the result is somewhat lacking in the qualities of unity and lucidity.
Fortunately, we have to do with few of the varied schools, for though all of them have foot-holds in the several colleges, only two have’ established their claims, Georgian and Gothic, and at the present time the latter has the call and has produced the most notable results : it may almost be said that, except where lack of funds or climatic conditions argue against Gothic, this has the field absolutely to itself. The ascetic and fastidious classicism of McKim created Columbia University and occurs sporadically elsewhere; the Boulevardesque of the Beaux Arts men appears in a single building at Yale, and in the slow-growing University of California and the Naval College at Annapolis; Spanish elements go to the making of Leland Stanford; and in Texas my own firm is doing “a deed without a name” that you must judge for yourselves and justify if you can and as we do ourselves. Elsewhere it is, as I said, Georgian or Gothic, and to the college trustee it is now the question, “under which King, Bezonian.” Harvard, after swinging the circle of every possible architectural dogma and heresy, seems to have settled down, as she should, to Georgian, as has Williams, and so many of the smaller and poorer preparatory schools and colleges, particularly in the South; but Yale, West Point, Pennsylvania, New York, Princeton, Bryn Mawr, Washington University, St. Louis, and Chicago, together with all the larger preparatory and Church schools, and the newer Roman Catholic institutions, are uncompromisingly Gothic of the type made immortal in England.
Before showing you the nature of this work, it may be well to examine a typical American university, in its setting-out, in its component parts, and in its organization. I will choose for this purpose Princeton, of which I am a member by adoption and where I have the honor to act as supervising architect. The title itself will indicate at once one of the many points of divergence between the English and American systems, for I fancy there is no university in the United Kingdom where one man is given almost complete authority over all matters of the choice of architects, supervision of their work both in design and execution, acceptance or rejection of gifts and their placing if accepted, the development of roads and paths, and the planting of trees and shrubs. Until recently such an office was unknown in America, but since Princeton took the lead, some five or six years ago, others have followed rapidly and the practice has now become an established custom.
It was time, too, that something should be done : as I have already indicated, our colleges were like Topsy they “just growed” without rhyme or reason, subject to the most vacillating fashion and the quaint whims of emancipated individualism, while the results were generally shocking. In the plan of Prince-ton you will easily see how lawless had been the growth, and conditions were even worse at Harvard and Yale. You will note at once from the wide spacing and the lack of coordination an-other point of difference: with us almost every college has begun in open country, as an original foundation. We have nothing like Oxford and Cambridge, partly because of this fact, and partly because each college is with us a unit; we have no gathering up of many and independent foundations, loosely knit together for administrative purposes : we have instead self-contained units, sometimes of enormous size, and each new benefactor founds, not a new college, but a dormitory, a library, a school of law or medicine or forestry or journalism. Person-ally, I think this plan must be abandoned, and a breaking-up into more manageable units take place. It seems to me demonstrable that in schools that have from four to six thousand students half the character-building qualities of education are lost, and that the personal element must be regained by breaking up these unwieldy masses into working units of not more than two hundred men each, at least for living and social purposes. This was attempted two years ago at Princeton, but the time was not ripe and the reform failed; still the leaven is working at Harvard and Cornell and else-where, and is, I think, within measurable distance of accomplishment.
In the new plan of Princeton, which shows the university as it now is, and indicates its future lines of development, you will see at once how strong the tendency is toward the standard type : here the dormitories are assuming quadrangular form, and in time may become full residential colleges, each with its common room and great hall and, when times have still further changed, perhaps its chapel. In the beginning our dormitories were simply barracks, with living rooms opening off long halls, with startling results so far as order and discipline were concerned. Now the “entry” type is almost universal, the type that holds in England, while the old sequence of regular cells serving both as study and bedroom for one or even two men, with a common necessarium two or three hundred yards away, has given place to the standard type of suites consisting of a study and two bedrooms for two undergraduates, and a study and bedroom for each graduate student. In the former case each stairway is separated from the next by a party wall, unbroken except in the basement to which all staircases descend, and here a general corridor gives access to groups of baths and toilets, and to the box-rooms, and to the other staircases in the quadrangle as well.
In the newest of our buildings for graduate students every two suites have a private bath between. Of course, we pride ourselves very much on our plumbing, and I sometimes wonder if we are not becoming almost Roman in our luxuries for bathing: it is possible we have gone too far, and that in time we shall return to more Spartan arrangements; but at present there is no denying the fact that we give nine tenths of our students more than they are accustomed to at home.
Another thing that will strike you is the magnificence of our gymnasiums and the dominating quality of our schools of science. There is really a rivalry amongst our colleges as to which shall have the biggest and most perfectly equipped gymnasium and swimming-pool, but this is partly excused by the fact that our winters are so severe that for three or four months skating, snow-shoeing, and ice-boating are about the only possible forms of out-of-door exercise in the North. Then we have general physical directors, as well as special trainers for the varied forms of athletics, and in many colleges regular and searching examinations of the men for physical and functional weaknesses, and as a result the health of our schools is well above normal. As for our science buildings, you know, as we know only too well, how almost unbalanced we have become in our devotion to practical and “vocational” training, and how obsessed we have become with the mania for natural science. Here at Princeton there is less of this than elsewhere, but two of our newest and most magnificent buildings are devoted, the one to biology, the other to physics, though as yet we have no schools of mechanical and electrical and mining engineering, as happens so often elsewhere.
One novelty you will not notice on the Princeton plan, and that is the clubs and fraternities. We have as many “Greek-Letter Societies” (which are very awful and very secret organizations) as we have colleges, and there are some institutions in America where these fraternity houses almost outnumber the academic buildings themselves. At Princeton no Greek-letter societies are allowed, but there are two old secret organizations, the Whig and the Clio, whose white marble mausoleums form the very centre of the campus, while to thé east stretches a great street absolutely lined with the private clubs which grew up when the fraternities were taboo. These clubs take in only a certain number of new members each year; they are distinctly aristocratic in their tone, though aristocratic of a sound and healthy type; and the buildings generally follow the lines of an old and palatial country house.
From all these points of difference you will see, then, that our American university is a very different matter, in its architectural form, from those in this country. Our newest graduate colleges come nearer, as you will see when I show you the now rising buildings for Princeton which lie half a mile to the west.
In the mean time let us examine the beginnings of what has been a notable Gothic renaissance amongst our colleges, and we need not forsake Princeton to do this, for it was here, in the shape of the new library, that it came into being. Alexander Hall had just been completed in the verbose and turgid style that followed the memory of Richardson like a Nemesis, and its architect was given orders to abandon this and revert to what we sometimes call “Ox-ford Gothic.” It was not a style with which he had either sympathy or familiarity, and he
produced a work which, while acceptable in its mass and general composition, fails sadly through its coarse scale and its mechanical ornamentation. Almost simultaneously, how-ever, certain new dormitories were put in hand Blair and Little Halls; and here the architects were two young men of Philadelphia who most unaccountably could think and feel in Gothic terms. I like to record their names whenever I can, John Stewardson and Walter Cope, for in addition to being singularly lovable fellows, they were geniuses of no inferior order; they brought into being, at Princeton, Bryn Mawr, and the University of Pennsylvania, structures that are to me singularly beautiful and inspiring, and they left their mark for all time on American architecture. Both are dead, and at a pathetically early age, while the profession of architecture is the poorer thereby.
About the same time a transplanted English-man, Mr. Vaughan, sometime pupil of that immortal master of the new Gothic, the late George Bodley, and still with us I am glad to say, began the introduction of the same style into our great preparatory schools, which you here would call “public schools.” His work at St. Paul’s marked a new era in this category of scholastic architecture, and was continued later in more sumptuous fashion at Groton. My own firm has been following his leadership in the convent school of St. Mary at Peekskill, and the Taft School in Connecticut, while there are innumerable examples of the same sort of thing all over the country.
It was really Cope and Stewardson’s work at Princeton that set the pace, however, and so beautiful was it, so convincing as to the possibilities of adapting this perfect style to all modern scholastic requirements, that the Princeton authorities, with a wisdom beyond their generation, passed a law that for the future every building erected there should follow the same general style. “Seventy-nine” Hall, Patton, McCosh, and the Gymnasium followed in quick succession ; then came the great Palmer Physical Laboratory, the Biological Laboratory — Guyot Hall Upper Pyne and Lower Pyne, and a little later, after I had become supervising architect, Campbell Hall, by my own firm, and the altogether wonderful quadrangles of Holder and Hamilton Halls, by Messrs. Day Brothers and Klauder, of Philadelphia. These latter buildings mark one of the very high points we have achieved in Collegiate Gothic in modern times. When the great quads are completed, we shall, I think, confront a masterpiece.
The most recent Princeton work is the great Graduate College my own firm is now building on the crest of a low hill, half a mile from the college campus, and commanding a gently sloping lawn of about eighty acres. This new college is, of course, only for graduate students; it has an endowment of over half a million pounds; it is conceived and organized on the most liberal, cultural, and scholastic lines, far away, indeed, from the popular schemes of “vocational” training; and it should go far toward restoring the balance in favour of sound learning and noble scholarship. The plan shows only the work now in hand, the first quad, with the great hall and its kitchens, together with the Cleveland Tower, which is a national memorial to one of our greatest Presidents, who spent his years, after retiring from office, in Princeton, as a trustee of the university and a devoted friend of the new Graduate College on the lines that had been determined by its Dean, Dr. West. At present the placing of the great tower seems a little too like that of the Victoria Tower at Westminster to be wholly satisfactory, but in some distant future a second quadrangle will be constructed to the south and east, containing the Chapel, the Library, and quarters for Fellows, which will restore the tower itself to the centre of the composition. Some day, also, a third quad will be developed to the northeast, and then the group will be complete, for the Dean’s lodgings, with their private gardens, to the southwest of the great hall, are already under construction.
Let us now turn from Princeton to some others of our many colleges; but before we take up the Gothic tale, let us see what has been done in other stylistic directions, for I would not give you the idea that the restoration of what one of your own great Gothicists, Mr. Champneys, has called so well the “Oxford Mixture,” is all plain sailing, or that splendid work has not been done in other directions. Columbia University in New York the old King’s College of Colonial days stands, of course, as the noblest type of the pure Classical idea, and its majestical library will always remain a national monument. Unfortunately, the site is crowded and fatally restricted : the mistake was made of fixing this when the change was necessary a generation ago too near the outposts of the advancing city, which like a conquering army has already swept up to its gates and miles beyond. For myself I can’t imagine a great centre of higher education in the howl and war of a great city, or anywhere, in fact, except in the quiet country or in the village environment it has built for itself, and I fancy another generation will see another moving on of Columbia; and when this happens I venture to predict that, in spite of the grave and scholarly mastery of McKim, Mead, and White’s work, the new housing will be on the lines that Oxford and Cambridge have not only made their own, but universal and eternal.
There is little else that is purely Classical amongst our universities, though Carrére and Hastings have built a most engagingly Parisian Alumni Hall at Yale, the Naval Academy at Annapolis is strictly French, and the University of California is growing on scrupulously École des Beaux Arts lines, afar on the Pacific Coast. Georgian, however, has established itself as a determined rival of the “Oxford Mixture,” and some of its products are not only logical and lovely, but genuinely scholastic as well. Harvard, as I have said, is beginning to follow this line, and so is Williams, where we ourselves are trying to show we have no hard feelings, by building a Commencement Hall, and a new quadrangle, in this quite characteristically American style. In Virginia, also, we are slowly constructing a great college for women, while we are using the same style for another of our oldest and most famous “preparatory schools” at Exeter, as well as at yet another girls’ college, Wheaton, in Massachusetts. Georgian also, with rather quaint Roman elements, has been used by McKim, Mead, and White for the vast War College at Washington, and altogether it is, as we say in our colloquial way, giving Gothic “a run for its money.”
The University of Pennyylvania shows still more of Cope and Stewardson’s wonderful work, though here it is couched in an extremely rich Elizabethan vernacular; and I am sure you will admit that the style is handled in a magnificent and competent fashion. Here it is all red brick and yellow stone, and the same materials are used in Mr. Day’s beautifully proportioned and very reserved Gymnasium. Bryn Mawr again is built of the wonderful stone that underlies all Pennsylvania and New Jersey, putting a premium on good architecture. Here in England all building stone is finely dressed, but in America we have adopted the practice of using “ledge stone” for our ashlar, our trimmings only being tooled. Fortunately, we have a wide variety of singularly beautiful stones, ranging in colour through all shades of gray, brown, purple, and tawny, easily obtained, inexpensive and durable. In a way I think we gain a richness in colour and texture that is obtainable in no other way, while we also acquire something of that effect of age, which is, after all, so essential a part of architecture.
Washington University, St. Louis, is later work of this same firm of Cope and Steward-son, after the latter had died, and good as it is, it shows the loss of the peculiar poetry that marked everything Stewardson touched. The plan is exceedingly interesting and very masterly, you will admit. It was laid out de novo, and after our college authorities had experienced a change of heart. With Chicago University we come to another of those institutions where the reverse course was followed : here the first buildings were distributed without any regard to architectural effect, and Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, in taking over the work, have been badly handicapped. This is the most archæological of the “College Gothic” in America, accurate, conservative, and reserved. For contrast consider Mr. Post’s “College of the City of New York,” which is as poetical, fantastic, and imaginative as the other is austere and cautious. I am afraid I think that here is an example of carrying a good thing too far in the use of one stone for ashlar and another for trimmings. Here the ashlar is almost black (the trap-rock that forms a great dyke along the geological “fault” that forms the Hudson River), while the trimming stones are not stone at all, but a pure white terra-cotta with a surface like ivory. In itself the design is so striking, so forceful, so full of life and spirit, one rather wishes it might have been expressed in materials of greater coherency.
Fortunately, both for education and architecture, practically all our collegiate work is fixed in the country, where there is land enough and we are able to keep down to those modest walls and few ranges of windows that are so essentially a part of the models we now follow: at Prince-ton, for instance, the residential buildings are seldom more than two stories in height, even when perhaps three would be better; but we are very afraid, and justly, of the aspiring tendencies, in our light-footed land, that lead to the building of Towers of Babel, sometimes, I regret to say, Gothic in style or rather with passably acceptable Gothic detail. In one instance, however, that of the Union Theological Seminary (a Presbyterian institution), in New York, strange counsels prevailed as to site and this was chosen well within the city, and where land already possessed an altogether artificial value. As a result the architects, Messrs. Allen and Collens, were confronted with the very grievous necessity of piling up their levels into a total with which, I think, Gothic, either in spirit or in method, has little sympathy. They have a fine chapel, however, and when the enormous corner tower is built, it will probably do much toward reducing the other buildings to a more reasonable frame of mind.
At the beginnings of another theological seminary, Roman Catholic this time, Messrs. Maginnis and Walsh have already completed one building, the tower of which is, I think, very beautiful. The general plan is not yet wholly determined, but it includes a huge parish church and will give a great opportunity for the architects to strike another blow for Roman Catholic Emancipation. I should shrink from trying to give you any faintest idea of the career of architectural crime that has been led by the Roman Church in America until now and the stars of promise are even yet dim and widely scattered. It has been a carnival of horror unbroken by any ray of light except, perhaps, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Paulist Church in New York; but it is much that so good a thing as Boston College should come into existence, and it may serve as a leaven until we Anglicans in America, as you here in England, may have to look alive to prevent Rome outdoing us at our own game, which has always been good architecture and plenty of it.
Near this Roman college, another great institution is rising, not strictly collegiate, though certainly educational, the “Perkins Institution for the Blind,” where Mr. R. C. Sturgis is developing a singularly personal and intimate piece of semi-domestic Gothic. In fact, as I said at the beginning, good Gothic is encroaching steadily on the preserves of Classicist, Boulevardier, and Colonial, and this in spite of the fact that, with the single exception of Harvard, every one of our schools of architecture absolutely disregards every type and phase of Gothic, both in design and in theory. Of course, it can’t quite be suppressed in history and archaeology, but it is treated rather as the madcap escapade of a callow youth, and passed over as lightly as possible. In spite of this, architects do appear who love Gothic, and, what is more, know about it also. Religion clamours for it, education annexes it, and even, in one instance, the Government of the United States itself accepted it with alacrity, and has found it not half so bad as it looked. For an end, therefore, of this casual showing, I want to place before you some views of the United States Military Academy at West Point, of which, as a military training-school, we are so inordinately and so justly proud. I cannot begin to give you any idea of the extravagant beauty of the site of West Point: it is like the loveliest part of the Rhine, only bolder and more dramatic. Mountains rise from the river on either hand, deeply forested, Storm-King and Dunderberg lifting highest of all; and on a narrow plateau, one hundred and fifty feet above the river, stands the Academy, its buildings forming a rampart along the cliff and creeping up the mountain-sides all around. Of course there wasn’t anything one could do there except Gothic, of sorts, though others had thought differently, as one who built there a lovely pagan fane like a dream of Imperial Rome. Moreover, most of the old work was pseudo-Gothic, and it had made a tradition, everything does this at West Point, I am glad to say, so it was not startling after all that our Classical Govern-ment should have endorsed a Gothic school.
I am not sure they got it: I think the chapel on its crag, dominating the whole group, would pass, though it surely is not archæological; the site is compelling, however, and really what we tried to do was to translate the rocks and trees and ribbed cliffs into architectural form. In the interior there is perhaps something more of the scholastic quality: in any case it is all honest masonry throughout, floor, walls, and vault, and it ought to stand for all time. Just what the cavalry and artillery buildings may be, I don’t know, nor does it much matter: they are an attempt to express outwardly their function and in the simplest terms; the stables sweep in an enormous arc around one side of the cavalry plain, and at the back, against the towering hills, are the barracks, one for each branch of the service. The ‘riding hall is no more, architecturally, than a rampart of rock, heavily but-tressed, and six hundred feet in length, a dimension that is prolonged to the south by the tower, and the power-house that breaks down step by step, along the coal-conveyor, to the water level and the: railway tunnel. The cadet barracks are the result of an amour (perhaps illicit) between ironclad military regulations and a very free and easy Gothic, but their inter-minable ranges of windows and buttresses show not unpicturesquely through the great trees that border the Infantry Plain. The gymnasium is something freer still, but not unpleasing in its colour, of tawny brick of a kind of velvet texture, and creamy stone trimmings. Unfortunately some of the most important work is not yet begun. There are scores of semi-detached quarters for married officers, from many of which the views are such as one crosses continents to see; but the new academic building is not yet finished, while no funds have been made available for the vast quadrangles of the quartermaster’s department, the cadet head-quarters which will, from the plain, form the structural base for the chapel (though this will be well behind and above), the hotel, and most needed of all the staff headquarters. This latter group will terminate the main axis, which will stretch a full half-mile from the landing on the upper level at the elevator tower and below the hotel, past the infirmary, between the old and the new academic buildings connected by their vast triumphal arch with its niched statues, past the enormous post headquarters, and so across the middle of the Infantry Plain. The group will be made up of residential quarters for the superintendent, commandant of cadets, quartermaster, adjutant, and surgeon, all grouped around an open court that contains the state apartments of the President, the secretary of war, and distinguished guests. There will be a great tower pierced by an arched sally-port, a banqueting-room vaulted and walled in stone, state reception-rooms, and all the other accommodations necessary at a place that appeals with singular force to all the people of the Republic, from its Chief Magistrate down to the humblest taxpayer.
Lacking these buildings, West Point is, of course, quite incomplete, but it is worth seeing even now, and for my own part I think, of the finished buildings, the post headquarters is not the least interesting. It is built on the edge of the cliff, and the entrance by the base gate is four stories below the main court, which is entered from the upper level. It is a pretty big building, but it is wholly occupied by the ad-ministration of the Academy and the military museum, and I want particularly to say that, massive as it is, it is all real masonry: it is no steel-frame skeleton clothed indifferently with a veneering of masonry; it is all of stone dug from the reservation cliffs and shot down to these lower levels.
And the same is true not only of the rest of the buildings at West Point, but of practically all the other work I have shown you as well. We do, indeed, indulge in skeleton construction and reinforced concrete and other structural expedients and substitutes, but deep in our racial consciousness, as in that of all other Anglo-Saxon peoples, is the solid conviction that, after all, there are but three real things in the world, the home, the school, and the Church, and that when we are dealing with eternal verities honest and enduring construction is alone admissible. And it is to the same consciousness, I think, that we may attribute the very universal return to Gothic of some form for our churches and our colleges and our schools. After all, there have never been but three real styles of architecture in the West, noble in impulse, organic in structure, perfect in detail; and these three are Greek, Byzantine, and Gothic : everything else is either a patois or a form of slang. Greek and Byzantine are in essence alien to our blood and temper, and Gothic alone remains. Over-seas, flushed with a new and half-unconscious recognition of the revolution that is slowly lifting the world out of materialism to the high free levels of a new idealism and spirituality, we instinctively revert to the very style which came into being to voice the old idealism and the old spirituality of the great Christian Middle Ages. Thus far we have, perhaps, done little more than reproduce ; re-ording our reverence for the great works of our common ancestors, in buildings that hold closely to type. We have not hammered out our own intimate style, or national and con-temporary architecture, any more than have any other modern races and peoples; but this will come by and by. At present we architects are, I conceive, no longer as in the past the mouthpiece of a people, creating the visible form for a great dominating social impulse that is the mark of supreme civilization : rather are we the voices crying in the wilderness, the pioneers of the vanguard of the new life, the men who re-create from antiquity the beauty that is primarily educational, that so it may work subtly through the consciousness of those who come under its influence, slowly building up a new civilization that, when it has come full tide, will burst the shell of archæological forms and come forth in its new and significant and splendid shape.
We have not now, nor have had for three centuries, a civilization that demanded or could create such artistic expression; but the light is already on the edges of the high hills, and we know that a new dawn is at hand. In the mean time, like the monks in the dim monasteries of the Dark Ages, we cherish and conserve all that was great in our greatest past, building as well as we may new Oxfords and new Westminster Abbeys, new Lincolns, new Richmond Castles, new Haddon Halls, not for a last new word in architectural expression, but as schoolmasters and as prophets, content with the educational work we are accomplishing, leaving to our successors the equal but not more honourable task of voicing in novel and adequate form the new civilization we are helping to create.