Turner, Paul V(enable)

views updated

Turner, Paul V(enable)

PERSONAL: Male. Education: Harvard University, M.Arch., Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: OfficeStanford University, Art Department, Cummings Art Building 121, Stanford, CA 94305-2018.

CAREER: Writer, architect, historian, and educator. Stanford University, Wattis Professor of Art.

AWARDS, HONORS: Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award, Society of Architectural Historians, 1984, for Campus: An American Planning Tradition.


(With Marcia E. Vetrocq and Karen Weitze) The Founders and the Architects: The Design of Stanford University, Department of Art, Stanford University (Stanford, CA), 1976.

The Education of Le Corbusier, Garland (New York, NY), 1977.

Campus: An American Planning Tradition, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1984.

Joseph Ramée: International Architect of the Revolutionary Era, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

(With Richard Joncas and David J. Neuman) Stanford University, Princeton Architectural Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Hanna House Restored, Hanna House Board of Governors, Leland Stanford Junior University (Stanford, CA), 1999.

Mrs. Hoover's Pueblo Walls: The Primitive and the Modern in the Lou Henry Hoover House, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 2004.

Contributor to books, including Museum Builders in the West: The Stanfords as Collectors and Patrons of Art, by Carol M. Osborne, Stanford University Museum of Art (Stanford, CA), 1986 and Academy Hill: The Andover Campus, 1778 to the Present, Princeton Architectural Press (New York, NY), 2000.

SIDELIGHTS: Author Paul V. Turner is an architect, art historian, and professor of architectural history at Stanford University. His research interests span topics such as European and American architecture and urban planning from the eighteenth to the twentieth century; pre-Columbian American architecture; Baroque architecture; the lives and careers of prominent architects Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright; and campus planning. Turner has also taken a more direct role as a conservator of Wright's work through his participation as chair of a Stanford University committee overseeing repair of Wright's Hanna House, which was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

In Campus: An American Planning Tradition, Turner examines the development of trends in the planning and design of American college campuses from the U.S. colonial period to the present. He "spends several hundred well-illustrated pages trying to explain and elucidate how the physical planning and design of the American collegiate environment has developed into one of the most potent models for a real or idealized state," observed Aaron Betsky in Progressive Architecture. Turner notes that when Harvard College was built in the late 1630s, it was the largest building in the British colonies. Throughout the twentieth century, college campuses remained some of the largest building complexes, underscoring their importance in American society. Campuses evolved, however, as their mission changed, becoming less the isolated, contemplative retreats for scholars and more the socially involved institutions charged with educating large sections of the population while participating fully in the life of the community.

Turner discusses the early campuses of Harvard, Yale, and William and Mary, Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia, and the development of the University of North Carolina and Princeton, where the word "campus" was first used. He provides information on the growth of land-grant universities and state colleges and examines more modern campus developments such as shopping-mall campuses of community colleges and commuter colleges in city centers. Turner's "catalog of great campuses does reveal a dazzling array of forms and compositions, none of which seem to escape the erudite author's attention," Betsky observed. Turner's "lavishly illustrated and clearly written book appeals to and largely satisfies" the interest displayed by those "who have spent our student days and most of our professionals lives on college campuses," commented Thomas Bender in Science.

Campus architecture, Betsky commented, proposes "an ideal, yet realized community of people in close relation both to a larger community and to nature," and that "the power of design to actualize such a community through the didactic clarity in the composition of its architectural elements remains unsurpassed." Betsky concluded that "Turner's beautifully researched, written, illustrated, and laid-out volume will provide theoreticians and practitioners alike with a tool for design strategies with which to carry on that tradition."

Joseph Ramée: International Architect of the Revolutionary Era is the result of Turner's ten-year quest to research and reconstruct Ramée's complex career, nomadic lifestyle, and influence upon early American architecture. Not well known even among dedicated historians and architects, Ramée's reputation is based primarily on his ambitious neoclassical design for Union College in Schenectady, New York, the first planned college campus in the United States. The rest of his career has largely remained a mystery.

Beginning with Ramée's days as a student and assistant in pre-Revolutionary Paris, Turner traces the architect's life throughout Belgium, Germany, and Denmark, then to the United States. In addition to his work on Union College, Ramée contributed to city designs in Philadelphia and Baltimore and offered an unsuccessful proposal for the first monument to George Washington in Baltimore. Ramée spent four years in the United States before returning to more restless travels in Belgium, Germany, and France, where he died in 1842. Turner provides "a richly detailed three-dimensional portrait of Ramée, his times, and his contributions not only to architecture but to both landscape and decorative design," commented Damie Stillman in Art Bulletin. "Turner's work is a major contribution," commented T. J. McCormick in Choice.



Art Bulletin, September, 1997, Damie Stillman, review of Joseph Ramée: International Architect of the Revolutionary Era, p. 551.

Choice, April, 1987, p. 1327; March, 1988, review of Campus: An American Planning Tradition, p. 1055; April, 1997, T. J. McCormick, review of Joseph Ramée, p. 1327.

Interior Design, April, 1997, Stanley Abercrombie, review of Joseph Ramée, p. 112.

Progressive Architecture, February, 1986, Aaron Betsky, review of Campus, p. 161.

Science, May 18, 1984, Thomas Bender, review of Campus, p. 715.


Stanford University Web site, http://www.stanford.edu/ (February 18, 2005), "Paul Turner."

About this article

Turner, Paul V(enable)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article