Opening the West Campus
While Science Hill aspired to concentration, the West Side colleges were more scattered. They were initially conceived in clusters like the East colleges. By 1967 planners envisaged a tight string of colleges along the ecotone line, with large adjacent playing fields, a field house and nearby graduate student housing and commercial center. Ultimately they became a loose string with gaps between the knots.
This strategy of dispersal aimed, in part, to gain state support for west, and eventually north, campus infrastructure (roads, sewers and electrical conduits) while funding was still available. As a result, sites were prepared only to be developed later.
Another motive may have been a belief that the individual identity of the colleges would be strengthened by having buffer zones between them. The isolating effect of such diffusion was not fully anticipated.
"Within the College Land Use parcel, five colleges can be accommodated Including Colleges #5 and #6. They are organized into a linear pattern that reinforces the forest wall and, at its southernmost tip, a terrace edge. Playing fields located on the a large area of relatively flat land in the center of the study area—when graded—reinforce and define the southern edge of the large and visually most important terrace.
The area is large enough to accommodate two football/soccer fields... the Multi-Purpose Unit and 25-meter swimming pool... and 4 to 6 tennis courts."
- from The West Area Study (1967)
"[College Five, now Porter College] is conceived as a compact quadrangle recalling aspects of Christ’s Church College, Oxford and a small town in the Alps-Maritime.... The desire for compactness—without resorting to elevator high-rise buildings—stems from the University’s prescription to leave areas between colleges as undisturbed landscape.... [The residential units] form the walls that enclose the ‘town square’ and separate it from the natural landscape.... To carry the town analogy further, beyond the residential court is the public square, seat of government and public assembly."
- from Satellite College for a New University (1968)