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September 15, 1958 - Image 51

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1958-09-15
Note:
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

a

~emen tI

atIo

ter Long Years of Service to the University
e Romance Languages Building Was Razed

By Thomas Hayden
ONCE upon a very long time ago,
a young, ambitious university
n the Midwest found itself with a
erious problem-of space.
The professors, being cluttered
by nature, saved all the stones and
bones they especially liked and un-
eremoniously stacked them in
heir classroom cabinets. Having
ery few students, the university
lad very few classrooms, and the
lassrooms had very few cabinets.
So the cabinets got filled with
tones and bones.
Sensing a need for more cabi-
lets, a virile, young science teach-
r one day proposed a solution to
,e problem of the filled cabinets.
What we need," he said, "is a
,eat big building where we can
iut our stoies and bones."
Everyone agreed. "Huzzah," they
bouted.
And so construction started. A
Thomas Hayden, a member
of The Daily editorial staff,
came under old RLB's spell
the first day he went inside for
a freshman language course.

short, round little Army major who
happened to be the only professor
of architecture the university could
afford, was selected to design the
new building. After many, many
nights of work, he set his blue-
prints before the Board of Peers,
who promptly approved.
THE MUSEUUS was to be con-
structed in French Renaissance
style, four stories high, of red
bricks trimmed with .stone. Its
most remarkable feature was to
be the distinguished tower. Its
ediface was decorated with the
grotesque images of battling mon-
sters, symbolic of the bones with-
in:
When the building was finished
at' last, all the professors happily
scurried around its-'insides, look-.
ing at all the empty space where
they could stack their stones and
bones.
"Huzzah," they shouted. again.
However, as years passed, the
university expanded. The museum,
aging rapidly, was" no longer .con-
sidered such a massive, wonderful
structure. The original roof was
found too heavy and.was replaced
by a cumbersome, makeshift affair.

The United States'. Pavilion

"Ugl y, Ugly Everyrwhere,-and Not a6Blade of: Grass"

The. Russian- PaviL

Lacking a basement, the museum
ground floor began to sink and had
to be strengthened.
And the stacks- of stones and
bones kept piling up. Soon the
university was lacking space again.
The Board of Peers ordered con-,
struction of 4 big, new museum.
, ESTONES and bones were
moved out of the tired, old
museum and replaced by an in-
coming 'group of language teach-
ers. Its fifty-year-old silence was
shattered by the babbling herd.
With each year, the old museum
withered a bit more. A coat of grey
paint was hastily slapped on its
weary walls. People began to com-

plain about the danger of a fire,
about the gnarled stairways, about
the. inescapable drafts.;
A few notalgics remained. They
looked at the scarred edifice, at
the monsters intheir never-ending
battle, at the gate of heaven
placed at the pinnacle of the
tower, and they shouted "Huzzah"
for the old building. But not quite
as 'loudly._
Moreand more people began to
think the museum an eyesore.
"Y-e-e-e-ch, what an eyesore,;"
they hooted.
Even some of the professors-be-
gan to dislike :the museum. They
called it a firetrap and afreezing,

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old barn and a hole and a pile of
erect rubble.
"What a pile," sail one, pro-
fessor.
Then, while the old museum
celebrated its 78th birthday, the
Board of Peers made a startling
announcement-all the babbling
language teachers were to move
out of the structure for it was to
be razed,
'HUZZAH" yelled some, and very
loudly indeed. "Huzzah, huz-
zah, huzzah."
Others questioned the decision.
gWhy tear it .down?" they asked,
"It's too distinguished to tear
down."
"Bah," the Board of Peers re-
torted. "The whole mess is coming
down."
-And soit did. Rattling red"dump-
trucks came and steam shovels
came and men came and fences
went up all around. Aid the rat-
tling red dumptrucks carried-the
old museum away.
The people who felt bad began
to console themselves.
"Well, at least we'll have a
place to plant some decent grass
on campus," they said. The uni-
versity had certainly grown. There
were buildings with huge pillars,
and buildings with red bricks and
even one building which had blue-
and. yellow windows.
A green, fresh open space with
no buildings at all was needed.
THE VACANT PLOT where the
old museum had been was
silent, expectant.
Then one day the rattling red
dumptrucks came back and with
them came men and shovels and
trowels and.., cement. The men
knelt down -and began to lay out
cement Walks.
"We have decided to build a
patio," the Board of Peers an-
nounced. "We are moving for-
ward."
And so today at the big univer-
sity one can see a flat, white slab
of cement. Most of the students
will soon think it has always been
there,. No one will tell them about
the old museum, or the plans for
a fresh, grassy expanse.
Except perhaps for an t5-iner
who will look and ask, puzzled,
"What happened .to the old pile of,
erect rubble?"
Or the aesthete who will cry,
" lgly, ugly everywhere and not
a 'blade of grass!"

By John Weleher

F IT COULD be considered to be
existing in a vacuum, the Brus-
sels Fair would be strictly for fun.
A complete ignorance of world af-
fairs is perhaps best for a per-;
son. attending It.
For, despitel the best efforts of
the. planners and of some o f the
participants, the Fair is basically
a good place to gawk. The won-
ders of the world are there, in
every category if one can enjoy
them without looking at the na-
tional labels they bear.
'The Fair isf, rst of all, im-
mense. It covers 494 acres north-
east of Brussels, and covers them
beautifully. No space is wasted,
but none is overcrowded. Besides
the actual exhibits most coun-
tries- have done some landscap-
ing on part of their space, with
generally refreshing results.
The land is naturally rolling,
which aids the architects .(al-
though it Is .hard oan theĀ° footsore
visitors). Plenty of benches are
John Weicher, city editor of
The Daily, spent considerable.
time at the Fair this summer
during a tour of Europe.
I Hairstyling to please!
Try us for:

Brussels -More

provided for sitting down; these
are all free - which cannot be
said for any nations' washrooms
except those of the United States..
(Everyone else charges four cents.
and has a woman attendant at.
the door to collect.)
The official'languages of BeI-
glum and the Fair are Flemish
and French. Although most coun-
tries (with, perhaps, the -signifi-
cant exception of Russia) also
give descriptions in English and
replace Flemish with its near rel-'
ative German, the industrial ex-
hibits do not. Fortunately, , these
include very little that is either
new or interesting to the Ameri-
can visitor, who can concentrate
on the south half of 'the fair,
wherehthe national pavilions are
clustered. Here is where the fun
is. -
U NFORTUNATELY, the plan-
ners have apparently failed to
regard the Fair as something oth-
er than a propaganda contest.
They have situated the American.
and Russian displays directly op-
posite each other with the much

smaller Arab States' building in
between.
The visitor is therefore almost
compelled to make a comparison
of the two, thus dragging the
Fair to the level of international
politics.
Strictly in the propaganda line,
the Russians would appear to
have won. Enjoyment, however, Is
another matter. The Russians
have been extremely thorough
and extremely unimaginative; the.
Americans have shown plenty of
imagination, but have missed
much.
Foremost among the absentees
is industry. A short description of
atomic power and a display of the
industrial. park. at. Stanford com-
prise almost the-entire extent of
American efforts in this line. No
machinery of any sort rears its
head: R-
It is possible to argue that ev-
eryone knows the value and ex-
tent of American machinery and.
technical skills; perhaps, on a
limited budget, the United States
had to sacrifice something. If so,
it probably chose well, but the ab-

sence of industry, coupled with
the heavy accent on consumer
goods, makes America look "soft"
by comparison with Russia.
Consumer goods dominate the
pavilion; perhaps excessively. The
United States. has played fair;

not]
new
"e*
seen
pric
itou~

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