Every day must be a field day for the red-tailed hawks of Harvard Yard. The views from the sky are both dizzying and enlightening.

For us mere bipeds, that vantage point has to be accessed via the narrow stairwells and ladders that lead to the tops of the iconic towers. The short of breath will find that pressing PH on the elevators of the tallest buildings achieves the same end.

There is a calm quiet in the balconies and belfries. Voices are muffled, and sounds are indistinct, betraying the busy-ness below.

Modern, colonial, and gothic architectures contrast across the campus. Lush courtyard landscapes, abstracted street patterns, and zigzag River Houses bend along the Charles.

Raymond Traietti, director of Memorial Hall, admires the neighboring 15-story William James Hall, built in 1963 and designed by famed architect Minoru Yamasaki. For years, Traietti engaged from the sidewalk with the “imposing skyscraper” and its “formidable blustery presence.”

“It was a revelation then to see it for the first time from the roof of Memorial Hall,” he said. “Seen in total with that graceful sweep up to the delicate top floor balcony, it looks modern and humane and optimistic, like its namesake.”

The chimneys of Eliot House frame rowers along the Charles River.

The chimneys of Eliot House frame rowers along the Charles River.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

The Eliot House courtyard is verdant in late summer.

The Eliot House courtyard is verdant in late summer.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

A bicyclist passes over the bike lane at the intersection of Quincy and Cambridge Streets.

A pedestrian follows the arrow outside Soldiers Field Garage at Harvard Business School.

A bicyclist passes over the bike lane at the intersection of Quincy and Cambridge Streets. A pedestrian follows the arrow outside Soldiers Field Garage at Harvard Business School.

Photos by Stephanie Mitchell and Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographers

Pedestrians pass alongside the gates of Harvard Yard.

Pedestrians pass alongside the gates of Harvard Yard.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

A person walks past a row of tree shadows on Kirkland Street.

Bauer Life Sciences Building and the Peabody Museum form an array of lines and patterns.

A person walks past a row of tree shadows on Kirkland Street. Bauer Life Sciences Building and the Peabody Museum form an array of lines and patterns.

Photos by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

The gold-crested tower of Kirkland House is framed from above.

The gold-crested tower of Kirkland House is framed from above.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

The window of Memorial Hall arches over Science Center Plaza

The view above Annenberg Dining Hall.

The window of Memorial Hall arches over Science Center Plaza, mirroring the scaffold of Annenberg dining hall inside. While Annenberg may be a little intimidating at first, Director of Memorial Hall Raymond Traietti said, “Seeing the dining hall from the third floor with those great, whale-like, hammer-beam trusses gives the space a protective and intimate feeling.”

Photos by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

The Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies and William James Hall are pictured on Kirkland Street.

The Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies and William James Hall make a handsome pair on Kirkland Street.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

The Brunswick Lion overlooks the courtyard of Busch Hall at the Center for European Studies.

The Brunswick Lion overlooks the courtyard of Busch Hall at the Center for European Studies.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

The Smith Campus Center and Malkin Athletics Center are pictured.

The Smith Campus Center and Malkin Athletics Center form a complementary grid.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

University Hall stands out even on a rainy day in Harvard Yard.

University Hall stands out even on a rainy day in Harvard Yard.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Trees engulf the steps and entrance to Widener Library.

Trees engulf the steps and entrance to Widener Library.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

An overview of Peabody Terrace and the Charles River.

A solitary basketball player and rower are pictured from above.

An overview of Peabody Terrace and the Charles River. A solitary basketball player and rower, seen from the 20th floor of Mather House, seemingly move in unison.

Photos by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Dunster House sits attractively along the Charles River and the Weeks Footbridge.

Dunster House sits attractively along the Charles River and the Weeks Footbridge.

Dunster House sits attractively along the Charles River and the Weeks Footbridge.

Photos by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer