University at Albany’s Uptown Campus

Second only to the Empire State Plaza as a prominent modern landmark in the Capital Region is SUNY Albany, now known as the University at Albany Uptown Campus.  It dates from the early 1960s and was designed by Edward Durell Stone (1902-1978).

These are some photos taken on a blustery day in late afternoon, with the few students in sight apparently returning to their dorms.

The campus is on a raised platform and covers some 360 acres.  It’s laid out on a grid with four 22-story dormitories at its corners.

Architect Edward Durell Stone had a long and productive career.  He was also responsible for designing the interior of Radio City Music Hall, the original Museum of Modern Art, 2 Columbus Circle and the Kennedy Center, among many other international projects.  Working during the modernist era, his use of decorative elements was often scorned.  But with this practice he actually foreshadowed the post-modern movement typified by Michael Graves.

I learned a lot about Stone from a talk last spring sponsored by Historic Albany Foundation and given by the architect’s son and biographer, Hicks Stone.  After his father’s death, Hicks also became an architect and has his own firm in New York.

The following photo shows a view from the campus’ central plaza looking outward toward Washington Avenue. You can see a newer glass “welcoming center” in the distance.  (Is it welcoming?)  That’s followed by a shot of the gallery of the University Art Museum, showing how the campus’ signature colonnades continue into the interior spaces.


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