This ambitious history chronicles campus design from the founding of the first European universities in the 11th century until last year. Although buildings for higher education are often among the most significant ones we build, surprisingly few good studies of them exist. There are numerous books on individual campuses, some good ones on architects who design college buildings (such as Robert A. M. Stern on Campus), and plenty of guides for facilities managers (even this one has a chapter on how to plan a campus). But only a few solid general histories have been written. The best, Paul Venable Turner’s Campus: An American Planning Tradition, was published in 1984 and has been out of print for decades, so Coulson, Roberts, and Taylor’s richly illustrated volume is very welcome.
Its range—throughout time and around the world—means that no campus can be described in detail, but the book helps readers grasp the scope of the genre and see the featured campuses in a broad context. Plus, it considers not only individual buildings but also campus planning, a discipline that, the authors note, arose in the 19th century.