The Architecture of Northwestern

A new campus guide highlights the University's architectural treasures.

Video: The Architecture of Northwestern — A collection of Peter Kiar's photos from "Northwestern University: The Campus Guide." See more videos from Northwestern magazine.

A mix of traditional university Gothic and modern steel and glass, the architecture on Northwestern's Evanston and Chicago campuses has been shaped over the 160 years of the University's history by geography, opportunity — and budgets. The first University building, originally located at Davis Street and Hinman Avenue in Evanston, no longer survives, but University Hall, built in 1869 as an all-purpose facility for the still-struggling institution, remains both a busy academic building and a symbol of the University.

On the Chicago campus the handsome Gothic towers built for the schools of medicine, law and business in the 1920s represented a bold move by Northwestern to centralize all of the University's professional schools in one location. Today those buildings, along with many recently constructed facilities and those of Northwestern's affiliated hospitals, create a bustling urban campus.

Northwestern's architecture is carefully chronicled and photographed in a new book recently published by Princeton Architectural Press, Northwestern University: The Campus Guide (2009). Written by Jay Pridmore, an architectural historian who also wrote the University's sesquicentennial history, the guide includes approximately 200 beautiful photos of both campuses by Peter Kiar, a noted Chicago architectural photographer.

Northwestern University: The Campus Guide is available at independent booksellers or online at for $24.95.