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Tour Description

Participants will be surprised to discover that the academic buildings and high-tech laboratories of the California Institute of Technology, one of the world’s foremost institutions of science and engineering, are part of a physical environment that relates to the surrounding community. 

After a brief visit to Gordon Kaufmann’s Mediterranean eclectic faculty club, the renowned Athenaeum completed in 1930, the tour will explore Caltech’s original campus. Participants will see how Bertram Goodhue, using “shaded portals, sheltering walls, and Persian pools,” set the tone for a campus of great beauty, so that scientists and engineers would become more aware of the aesthetic values of life. 

Following World War II, the expanding campus became a microcosm of architectural styles, from undecorated boxes to the New Formalism of Edward Durell Stone’s auditorium and the Brutalism of Robert Alexander’s academic structures. 

Although the 1989 Master Plan suggested a Mediterranean theme, the buildings of the twenty-first century reflect current architectural trends seen in Pei, Cobb, Freed’s stainless-steel and travertine Center for the Biological Sciences, and Thom Mayne’s terra-cotta-colored laboratory for Astronomy and Astrophysics

NOTE: This is a strenuous walk. The total distance is approximately 1⅓ miles and the walk includes flights of steps. The tour lasts from 1½ to 2 hours. Low-heeled shoes are advised. The route is not suitable for strollers or walkers. For information on special needs call (626) 395-4654.