Biography and History

The School of Architecture, previously known as the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, is Princeton University's academic unit dedicated to the teaching and study of architecture and related topics. Founded in 1919 as the School of Architecture at Princeton University, it shared many faculty members and facilities with other units within the Department of Art and Archaeology. The steady growth of the program led to its establishment as an independent entity in 1952. The construction of a new building in 1963 and the creation of the office of Dean of the School of Architecture in 1965 further cemented the School's position as a full-fledged institution. Shortly thereafter, in cooperation with the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, a program in Urban Planning was added to the course offerings and in 1967 the name of the school was officially changed to the School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Around 1980, the School of Architecture and Urban Planning ceased its program in urban planning (although the Wilson School continues to offer one) and changed its name back to the School of Architecture. Today the School of Architecture offers undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees. Over the years, the course of study offered by the School of Architecture has been restructured frequently in response to technological innovation and emerging issues in the field of architecture, and many prominent architects have been drawn to the School to teach. Included among this group are Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and Michael Graves.

Robert L. Geddes was named the first Dean of the School of Architecture in 1965 (the previous leader used the title "Director"). He held that position until his retirement in 1982. Under Dean Geddes, the school's curriculum expansion to include urban planning, which was taught in collaboration with the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and the school was renamed the School of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Dorothy Whiteman was the Assistant to the Director and, later, Assistant Director of the Research Center for Urban and Environmental Planning and its predecessor, the Bureau of Urban Research.

Robert L. Maxwell served as Dean of the School of Architecture from 1982-1989, after which he became a Professor Emeritus and, in 1993, founded the practice of Maxwell Scott Architects.

The Bureau of Urban Research was formed at Princeton University in 1941 to establish source material for research in the field of Urban Studies. The Bureau had three major goals, these being the coordination of information and research, the creation of original research, and providing assistance to students interested in the field. In pursuit of these ends the Bureau of Urban Research created a research library of urban studies materials as well as published scholarly periodical, "The Urban Reference." In 1967 the Bureau of Urban Research merged with the newly created Research Center for Urban and Environmental Planning.

In 1966, the School of Architecture created the Center for Studies of the Planned Environment, which was renamed the Research Center for Urban and Environmental Planning in 1967, the same year that the existing Bureau of Urban Research was merged with it.

The Center was staffed by visiting scholars and faculty from the School of Architecture and Urban Planning who worked with researchers from many disciplines, including engineering, the natural sciences, the social sciences, the humanities, and public affairs. Its primary function, like that of its predecessor the Bureau of Urban Research, was to produce source material for urban studies. Typical projects included the creation of a Planning and Design Workbook for Community Participation, and studies on the impact of mass transit on urban development.

The Research Center for Urban and Environmental Planning ceased operations around 1980, shortly after the Princeton Urban and Regional Research Center was organized by the Woodrow Wilson School. Around the same time, the School of Architecture and Urban Planning ceased to offer a program in urban planning (although the Wilson School continued to do so) and the School of Architecture and Urban Planning changed its name back to the School of Architecture. The collections of the Research Center for Urban and Environmental Planning and the earlier Bureau of Urban Research became part of the School of Architecture’s library.

Source: From the finding aid for AC137

  • Master's Theses Collection. 1894-2010 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC101

    Graduate work in a formal sense emerged at Princeton in the 1870s when President James McCosh added new faculty and graduate fellowships. This collection consists of theses submitted toward the fulfillment of requirements for master's degrees at Princeton University.

  • School of Architecture Records. 1935-2015 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC137

    The School of Architecture, previously known as the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, is Princeton University's academic unit dedicated to the teaching and study of architecture and related topics. The records include subject files, correspondence, course descriptions, and other administrative materials, as well as records from the Bureau of Urban Research and its successor, the Research Center for Urban and Environmental Planning.