After having some time to get comfortable with the new “Usdan University Center,” I have to say I don’t like it. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about a lot of reasons to hate that place (and I agree with many of them), but I have not heard too much talk about the building architecturally.
This is conservative architecture at its worst. By trying to appease all parties involved, it ended up with no interesting architectural characteristics. It tries to relate to the surrounding buildings, but leaves out all of the details and nuances that make College Row so beautiful. The large windows (whose views are often blocked by brick walls or trees) are a poor substitute for interesting architecture.
Structurally, the building is awkward. The geometric and symmetrical layout is uninspired and the ‘grand’ staircase creates uncomfortable spaces on either side. The patio next to Andrus Field, however, is a nice space to socialize.
While many people criticize the CFA and Mocon for being too outlandish, at least those buildings make an effort to push the limits. At least those buildings weren’t toned down to the point that they are boring so as to not offend anyone.
Believe it or not, I’m not just trying to be an elitist asshole here. I want this campus to be beautiful. The school is in the process of designing a new science building and I want everyone to be informed about the design. There are some unhelpful documents available about it on Blackboard. Hopefully there will be more information/images regarding the building before they settle on anything. If you don’t like the design, make some noise about it.
I do not want another Fauver or Usdan on this campus. I for one will never donate money to this school if it continues to funnel it into watered-down structures that dull the campus.