Students base their choice of college/university on many factors but architectural beauty isn’t usually one of them. Once part of the student body though, a student can truly appreciate the aesthetic appeal of their campus. Here are some of the most outstanding colleges and university campuses around the world:

1. Kenyon College – Gambier, Ohio, USA

First on the list is Kenyon College which was built in 1824 and is set on a 1,000 acre campus. Not only does this campus provide a rich history of Gothic architecture it also has a 480 acre nature preserve set in its grounds. Multiple architects designed the college in the style of the gothic revival and Greek Reviva. A notable and interesting feature of this college is Peirce Hall which rises in the center of the campus. Within the Great Hall students eat their meals surrounded by carved rafters, stain glass windows and wood paneling. This is a truly inspirational place to enjoy when both relaxing and studying. Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky, teacher of 17th century poetry at the college says that it is “a small place to think big thoughts.”

2. Princeton University – Princeton, N.J

Princeton University is designed in the style of Collegiate Gothic, which was implemented by William Appleton Potter. This design is essentially grey stone covered in beautiful ivy. There are footpaths to guide students around the campus with archways and plazas designed to evoke discussion and inspire learning. The design of the campus has been made up by a number of well-regarded architects, including Frank Gehry who designed the Lewis Library and Rober Venturi whose brainchild was the First Campus Center. Currently the university is undergoing an expansion plan guided by architect Natalie Shivers.

3. Stanford University – Palo Alto, Calif

The campus at Stanford University was designed by Charles Allerton Coolidge in the Richardsonian Romanesque style merged with the Californian Mission Revival. This mix of styles became stone buildings that are linked together by half circle arches, red tile roofs and solid sandstone masonry. Despite the fact that Stanford has grown considerably since it was founded in 1885, it has managed to keep to its initial design.

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4. University of Cape Town, South Africa

This is the second oldest university in South Africa and is set amongst a truly stunning backdrop. The main campus overlooks the slopes of Devils Peak while mountains loom over the other main buildings. The campus was designed by JM Solomon and was constructed in 1928. Since its origins a number of other buildings have been added, however they are in keeping with the rest of the architecture.

5. University of Cincinnati – Cincinnati, Ohio

This university has been recognized by architects as one of the most distinguished campus settings in the whole world, and you can see why. The campus is characterized by its art-deco design, stone and Gothic architecture. The design has been created by a number of different architects, with a variety of styles. This can be seen in the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies which was designed by Frank Gehry. It is creatively put together with different angled windows, sloped roofs and walls.

6. University of Oxford, England

The University of Oxford does not have just one campus; instead it is made up of 38 unique colleges, each with their own character and charm. One of the more notable of the college buildings is the Magdalen Grove Auditorium, part of the Magdalen College. This was opened in 1999 and designed by Dr Denetri Porphurios who aimed for a ‘classico-vernacular’ design which combined Greek Classical form and proportion with other references to give it a unique and timeless look.

7. The Queens University of Belfast, Northern Ireland

The main section of the university, the Lanyon Building, was erected in 1849 in the style of Tudor Gothic and designed by English architect, Sir Charles Lanyon. The red brick is the face of the building that provides a warm welcome to visitors whereas the students union and the library are much more modern. The Lanyon Building is the center of the university and is a landmark with its archway doors and gothic window design.

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8. Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland

The university has a number of buildings around the city of Wroclaw, two of which are modernist in their design. The other two are older in their appearance with sandstone brick and red tiled roofs. The technology building is very modern in its appearance with the frontage made up of reflective black glass and patterns.

9. Yale University – New Haven, Conn

This university is said to have more show stoppers than many of the other universities in the world. One of the iconic buildings at this university is the Art and Architecture Building, designed by Paul Rudolf. This building is one of the earliest examples of Brutalist architecture in America. The building is made up of intersecting volumes of concrete with smooth concrete and glass held by a sequence of towers. Amongst this urban campus you’ll find courtyards, plazas and landscaped spaces.

10. University of Virginia – Charlottesville, Va

This campus was designed by Thomas Jefferson in an effort to create an ‘academic village’ setting where students could learn to the best of their ability. Jefferson designed the campus around a rotunda with a large green area and 10 classrooms. The professor’s quarters were set above the classrooms so that learning would not be restricted. It is considered that the lawn was one of the great achievements of architecture in the 19th century as it brought together the professor and the student as well as the university and the landscape. At the university you’ll also find features by McKim, Mead and White and Billie Tsien.

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