Wednesday, April 5, 2023

SearchResearch Challenge (4/5/23): What's this architecture all about?

 I'm at a famous university today... 

P/C Dan

... and I'm fascinated by the architecture I see all around me.  I went on a short run yesterday and was brought up short so many times by the completely remarkable views that I need to know more. 

Here are a couple other images that I snagged during my jog around campus.  

As you can see, it's pretty recognizable--very old school, so to speak.  

The curiosity was killing me, so I spent a happy hour looking up the architectural backstory for this place. This is the basis of this week's SRS Challenge.  

1. Where am I?  (This shouldn't take you long.) 

2. What's the architectural style of this university?  How did it get to be so... distinctive?  

3. Now that you know where I am, what's one really big connection between here and Silicon Valley?  (In particular, between this town and San Jose, California?  Do you know the way to San Jose?  

I'm interested in the backstory here. Why this style?  Why here?  How did it all happen?  These buildings aren't cheap to make, so why go to all this trouble?  

For me, a bit part of scratching my curiosity itch is in understanding the context in which something takes place.  I don't mean to sound like a struggling actor here, but what's the motivation for doing this?  Once I understand the backstory, it makes remembering and understanding much, much simpler.  

As usual, be sure to tell us HOW you found the answers?  (If you happened to recognize these buildings, just say so.  There's no demerit in just knowing stuff.)  

Keep searching!  


  1. To find where are you, tried Search by Image. Thought pic 2 or 3 could give me the answer. However, was picture 1 that worked. I verified with Google Lens.

    Photo 1. Harkness Tower

    Photo 3. Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall. Yale University

    With [New Haven CT around(3) "San Jose California"

    They called her the Winchester widow.

    1. good find/search technique… (I was going with Bibo’s Ny Pizza)
      some interior shots…

    2. Thanks Remmij!

      The Winchester House

      With your link (reading it by parts) :The Liberty Valance Effect, i.e. “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

      Searched [Liberty Valance Effect]

      Another mystery

      Wikipedia from the song:

    3. With [Yale architectural style]


    4. I don’t know what your search strategies were Ramon but here is what I did. After the usual searches yielded no results, I thought that a lot of people must have moved from the Northeast to the West Coast, maybe specifically from Yale to a California university.

      [person who went from new haven to san jose]

      The first results were mostly airline ads but I found

      which contains

      “In 1886, she [Sarah Winchester] left her home in New Haven, CT, for a new life in San Jose, CA.”

      A slightly different search

      [person who went from new haven ct to san jose ca]

      “Shortly after her husband’s death, Sarah left their home in New Haven, CT and moved out west to San Jose, CA.”

      Also, unrelated to the challenge

      about a man named Jose who shot a New Haven policeman.

    5. With [ Why Yale Gothic Architecture]


    6. nice find Ramon, the Eero Saarinen story is very interesting - a great architect, imo.
      hard to imagine hockey & gothic… maybe goth?
      Morse College -
      elitists crudely celebrating Morse and the axe…
      "The historical cheer of Morse College is a rendition of "Happy Birthday" to Samuel Morse, followed by the repetition of "Morse, Morse, hung like a horse" six times, then concluding with "Morse Always WINS!""
      ""Dot dot, dash dash, we're Morse college, kiss our axe!""

    7. another master there (imho) Between Silence and Light


    Robinson Meyer is a former staff writer at The Atlantic and the former author of the newsletter The Weekly Planet.

    All is nicely explained here:
    And it’s those legends that most transfix me. The American college campus, and its Gothic filigree, seem timeless, pristine constructions. Nothing could be farther from the truth: They are historical eruptions, made possible by philanthropic economics, continental envy and racism. That doesn’t detract from their inherent beauty: Rather, to think more clearly about colleges, we should recognize and adapt ourselves to their history and their contingency.

    Just used Lens to ID the buildings

    Part 3 later

    1. an interesting, if tilted, overview of the pretty academic pretentiousness… built on a now-shaky foundation…
      a little roaming history of the current 'The Atlantic'… (I know this article [2013] was before the Emerson Collective acquisition [2017])
      "Grade of 67.3%"… that was a 'F, failing grade' at one time – things are different now.
      a tool to evaluate
      the  angle – Laurene Powell
      from snippets:"Through Emerson, Powell Jobs owns The Atlantic and a stake in Axios. In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Powell Jobs donated $2 million to Hillary Clinton and raised a further $4 million for her. Powell Jobs was an early investor in, and board member of, Ozy. In addition, Ozy credited her as a "contributor.""
      a 'Collective'
      "Sometimes donors developed favorite architects. Edward Harkness, who inherited some of the Standard Oil fortune, donated extensively to colleges and universities, including his alma mater, Yale. He chose a fellow Yalie—James Gamble Rogers—to build his commissions, and Rogers developed an American Gothic style, a mixture of different countries’s Gothic styles. Rogers built extensively in this style at Yale and Northwestern.
      And it was Rogers who supposedly cast acid across Harkness Tower (named after, yes, that Harkness) to make it look more aged."

      speaking of twitter
      bird flew
      Kabochan かぼす♀
      Kabosumama on I_gram

    2. Along those lines -

      [Why does the Duke campus use Gothic architecture?]

      “The Duke Chapel was completed in 1935 at a cost of about $2.3 million. The founder of the University was James Buchanan Duke. It is believe that he chose the Gothic revival architectural style to echo the older established educational institutions such as Yale or Princeton. Both featured Gothic revival architecture. His attempt was ultimately successful attempt. Consequently, Duke University was able to establish itself as one of the foremost institutions of higher learning in the United States.”

      Am I reading this correctly? According to Merriam-Webster, “consequently” means “as a result : in view of the foregoing”.

      “People tend to have an image of what elite institutions of higher learning should look like. For many, buildings should have massive dimensions and feature a combination of tall castle-like towers, walls of stone, stained glass, buttresses, spires, pointed arches, gargoyles, and decorated portals. This would be a college that “looks like a college”. It’s also known as Collegiate Gothic architecture.”

      [which american universities use gothic style]
      [why do american universities use gothic style]

      “the Collegiate Gothic style to a large degree still defines the architecture of modern Princeton. The spires and gargoyles that so entranced Fitzgerald, the arches used by the a capella singing groups, and the countless other symbols embedded deep in university's ethos all derive from this period.”
      “There are other aspects to this story as well. For example, what message did Princetonians of the 1890s believe that Collegiate Gothic architecture sent about their university's place in academia? How did this style affect campus planning and the siting of new buildings? Combined with the histories of the individual buildings, these factors when woven together tell the tale of Princeton's transformation into the most "collegiate" of all American university campuses.”

      All of this naturally leads to -

      [Why do Oxford and Cambridge use Gothic architecture?]

  3. " I'm at a famous university today… " University of Bridgeport? no pointed arches to be found…
    where's the Gothic
    US News
    no mediæval scribe standing watch…

  4. My first hunch was that this was another coded message from DMR telling us he has landed a plum position at Yale.

    But sadly for my search and maybe for him, I cannot find corroborating evidence anywhere

    Then I ran thru architects in SJ and ditto near Yale. Nothing useful.

    I do like The Prairie houses though that I would never have found otherwise

    I spent half a day in Mrs. Winchester's house. But this is surely not the strong connection being sought.

    j, Now off to start prep on food for unexpected dozen who a few hours ago "couldn't make it" Cheers

  5. off topic, but of the day…