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September 11, 1968 - Image 2

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-09-11

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Wednesday, September 1 1 1968

The Ad Bldg.:

What it means

By MARTIN DALE
If it is good enough for the
civilization of the Nile, it should
be good enough for the Uni-
versity of Michigan. Only one
must be careful to avoid being
openly eclectic (since that is not
accepted anymore) and besides,
plenty of that genre already
exists on campus (Clements
Library, the Law Club, the An-
gell Hall facade, etc., etc.).
Rather, the answer that evi-
dently cropped up to solve the
question of a new administra-
tion building was to erect some-
thing which has an immutable
quality, without sacrificing the
tenets of contemporary aesthe-
tic sensibilities.
That is to say, "Form must
follow function," And that is to
say, the new Administration
Bldg., looming heavy on the
western campus horizon, tells us
quite a bit about the University.
In front of the new building,
work has already begun on a
forecourt to be adorned with
the name "Jefferson Plaza"-in
honor of the street that bounds
the land on the north. It will
have trees, substantial ground
coverage, and it will be graced
by a monumental kinetic sculp-
ture. When all this is completed,
it is intended that an architec-
tural spatial composition will
have been developed which will
have as its focal point the new
Ad Bldg. itself, and which will
be defined by existing buildings
on all four sides. Of course,
those responsible have realized
that the scale of all this must
respect the quaintness of Ann
Arbor and the "old" campus-

-Daily-Jay L. Cassidy
Catacombs and recesses

hence the extensive use of such
mainstays as good o1' bricks and
good ol' trees.
But the building itself, now
that it is completed and fully
occupied, impresses one as a
testament to the role which has
been secured by the administra-
tion within the system. Its form
is basic, simple, and symmetri-
cal-a massive cruciform of red-
brown masonry. It is difficult
to tell whether it appears to sit,
squat, or stand-but its pre-
sence, for sure, is undeniable.
In keeping with monuments
of the past, it has those univer-
sal qualities of stability, primal
essence, and ominous silence;
it is at once impregnable and
immovable. In the abstract
sense, it reminds one not only
of an ancient pyramid, but of a
bastion, a fortress, or even a
colossal sarcophagus which has
been stood on its head and
thrust into the ground.
Not only is this quality mani-
fested in the mass of the build-
ing, but, like the fluid ether,
it permeates the interior spaces
as well.
It emanates from within the
catacomb-like recesses of the
first level, then filters out into
the tight void of the main en-
tranceway, twists about and
funnels its way down a long
narrow passage, thrusts up the
shafts of the central service
core, and finally billows out and
spirals through six equal levels
of numberless rooms.
Like the sacred tombs of the
ancients, this structure is not
without its own aura of secrecy
and illusion. The Regents'
chambers (i.e., the catacomb-
recesses) are windowless and can
be approached only by an in-
conspicuous door which is just
off of the main entrances to
the building.
The office of the president is
shielded anonymously behind
one of the myriad panes of dark
glass which make up the pat-
tern of the facade. Further-
more, although it is possible to
see out of these windows, it is
not possible to see in. There is
a strong axis which leads from
the main entrance only to end
abruptly at a second and identi-
cal entrance (or is it an exit?)
One can see that in many re-
spects, the new Administration
Bldg. has conversed quite cap-
ably with the ancients.
It takes liberties, however, for
the sake of a symbolism more in
keeping with the contemporary
spirit. For instance, there is the
linear pattern of brown and.
WELFARE
The University Activities
Center is sponsoring a panel
discussion tonight on the
county welfare issue in the
Union Ballroom at 8 p.m. Par-
ticipants will be Board of Sup-
ervisors Chairman Robert Har-
rison, welfare mothers' leader
Mrs. Shirley Haywood, Daily
reporter Steve Nissen, and rep-
resentatives of Voice-SDS and
the Young Americans for Free-
dom. Admission is free.
r
in
a guide to:
Apartments,
Bars
Restaurants
with maps and

in Ann Arbor
$1.00

white which makes the staccato
path across the surface of the
building resemble the newest
innovations within the bureau-
cracy-i.e., the hum of a comp-
uter, or the intricate semantics
of planning-programming and
budgeting. Of course there is
the usual proliferation of type-
writers, telephones, and papers
inside. But this is all taken for
granted as a necessity to per-
petuate the system.
Certainly, the administrative
realm of power qualifies most
admirably for the historical
purity of the building's symbol-
ism. No one can dare ignore the
effectiveness of the administra-
tion in molding the image of the
campus throughout its 150 year
history. Neither can one doubt
that its role will diminish in
the future: the administration
is alternately feared and wor-
shipped (depending on where
you're at), its influence is felt
everywhere and by everyone.
The administration and its
new home even have character-
istics curiously parallelto those
of the Egyptian death cult,
though not in the metaphysical
sense of the word. Today the
fascination is more in the prag-
matic tradition, tempered where
necessary to meet current de-
mands. For instance, the ad-
ministration is currently exper-
imenting with new systems of
management and data process-
ing, and to somehow capture the
essence of the administration's
historical positions and these
present tasks in the architec-
tural symbolism is no small feat.
Of course, the administration
at the University has not winc-
ed at such challenges in the
past. This is especially evident
in the remarkable changes on
campus during the last two de-
cades. It is too bad, though,
that while incurring the de-
mands of this period, so much
mediocre architecture has re-
sulted; it is too bad that all
these added facilities have not
come close to fulfilling the de-
mand for space within the in-
stitution; it is too bad that in
the process of trying, the means
for integrating these facilities
has become so strained.
But there is a price, of course,
for progress.
And that price, repeated in
building after building along the
campus landscape, has been the
effort to achieve the status of

-Daily-Jay L. Cassidy

The non-directional hum of computers

what is, not of what ought to
be. The new Administration
Bldg. reveals the nature of the
administration through the
realm of architectural symbol-
ism. There it stands, a monu-
ment to the multiversity, a bas-
tion for the bureaucracy, a solid
fortress of imposing impregna-
bility.
It is only too bad for the
architectural - philosophical
minds who forwarded the plan
and idea for the building that
they did not realize that the
building's meaning - physical
and metaphysical - is not im-
possible to combat. In fact, if
you listen closely some night,
you might be lucky enough to
hear the battle lines being
drawn by some shaggy-looking
characters skulking around the
building's cramped first floor.
"Do you realize that 25 people,
no more, could tie this place
up? And even if they tried to
move us, how could they pos-
sibly get us out?"

1 ~~i

I

SHA
Having problems
with your
apartment?
Air conditioning
doesn't work?
Furniture in bad
condition?
Call On
COMPLAINT
SERVICE
Mon.-Fri--2-5 P.M.
Student Housing
Association
1532 SAB
Anyone interested
in helping,
Please Call.Us

'I

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Sept. 12, 7:30

o-

The stark sterility of a fluid ether

AAUW book
sale opens
The Ann Arbor branch of the
American Association of Univer-
sity Women will be holding its
16th annual book sale tomorrow,
and Friday in the Student Activi-
ties B3ldg.
The sale, proceeds from which
go to the AAUW Fellowships
Fund, a program which enables
both American and foreign women
to do graduate research at uni-
versities of their choice, begins
tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. and
will stay open tomorrow until
9 p.m.
On Friday, the sale will be open,
from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Featured in the book sale will
be large numbers of used books
and magazines representing all
subject matters and interests.

ENDS WEDNESDAY4 DIAL
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THE DIRECTOR OF "ROSEMARY'S BABY"
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A William Castle PRODUCTION
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TechnicolorA Paramount Picture S MA

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ONION-LEAGUE

The hanging was the best show in town.
But they made two mistakes.
They hung the wrong man
and they didn't finish the job.

4

CONTROVERSY

'68

PRIOR TO BROADWAY !
ACI IFRF'S

4

SEPTEMBER 17-29

A SERIES OF LECTURES ON PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS

Y i \..1 4.. I L. 1 f t... +.. '
"
f
L

BLACK POWER:
JULIAN BOND
Sept. 29 at 2:00 P.M. at Hill
FRANCE:

RELIGION:
MADALYN MURRY
Oct. 20 at 2:00 P.M. at Hill
WAR ON POVERTY:

FRANCOIS MITTERAND J. WM. FULBRIGHT
Oct. 27 at 2:00 P.M. at Hill Nov. 24 at 8:00 P.M. at Hill

!I

1 1. 1 1_L _' 31I I t 1

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