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The first plan for University development shown above was even- 1 840: REALITY
tually Junked for lack of sufficient funds. Its author is believed to
have been the University's major contractor for later structures. The rejection of the first plan is indicated clearly in this plant de-
He envisioned a line of academic buildings along State St., some of partment diagram of the campus of 1840. Only the lower left house
which would double as dormitory facilities. The professors' houses still stands today as the President's residence on South Universlty
facing North and South University Avenues were the only buildings The four houses were at that time used as residences for the pro-
actually constructed at the time of the plan, although the Regents fessors and as places for instruction. Mason Hall was being con-
were then preparing to build the first Mason Hall along State St.. structed.
From the oval Michigan Stadium on the southwest to the children's hospital and veteran's rehabilitation center on the northeast, the Uni-
versity's major campus stretches in a disorganized pattern. The above physical plant diagram does not include most of the 4000 acres of
property which the institution owns on North Campus and elsewhere in the state. But it does show the extent of campus development since
the 1830's, when the Regents began to build the University in a 40-acre square bounded today by North, East, South University Avenues and
to give right angles to the northeast corner of the acreage and
define the square which today is bordered by North, South, East
and State Streets.
By 1840 the real estate was speckled with four professors'
houses, of which the only survivor is the President's house on
South University. Most of the 60 students who enrolled in 1841
lived and studied in the grisly Mason Hall, the first home of the
literary department, which was eventually torn down.
By 1850 the enrollment had soared to 159 and required a
second literary department structure, South College building,
which also was located at the west end of the campus. The newly-
created medical department merited a structure in the early 1850s
-and the Regents placed it in a pasture on the east side of the
When Jame Burriil Angell took office as the institution's
fourth President in 1871, the University's nine buildings were
already arranged by function. The 1207 students who enrolled
that year found the medical building and chemistry laboratory
grouped along the east side of the square, the literary department
structures on the west and a law department building slightly
north of them.
The remaining buildings were the original professors' homes
bunched at the southern and northern ends of the campus. Dia-,
grams of the campus prominently displayed the diagonal which
bisected the campus and had tributaries linking up the buildings.
President Angell proved to be the master builder. During his
reign, lasting through 1909, 50 buildings were constructed includ-
ing the General Library and a number of structures in what is
now called the Medical Center. There was 'little general planning
during this period; the construction pattern proceeded like an
inkspot expanding outward from the central 40 acres.
In the 1920s, the idea of planning the campus was favorably
received by the Regents. The 1838 plan for a flock of- buildings
lining State St. had been dropped. But the principle of linear
development sprouted up again when the construction of a new
General Library, on its present site, placed it at the head of a
clear vista northward.
Professional architects consulted at this time saw the possi-
bilities. Among them, the firms of Pitkin and Mott of Cleveland
and the Olmstead Brothers of Boston envisioned and diagrammed
a mall leading northward from the library or northeastward from
the center of the diag towards the medical center.
These developments of campus theory were matched with
pragmatic decisions by the Regents in the early twenties to ap-
point. a building committee of five members. Its task: to prepare
long-range building programs.
But the depression and the war were to interrupt planning
efforts and the campus continued to fill out eccentrically in the
same helter-skelter fashion that had dominated earlier growth.
In this era, the professional schools sprang up in odd spots
around the central campus vicinity, Completion of the Rackham
Bldg. in 1938 made the mall concept a reality. But elsewhere, signs
of planning were few. At the opposite end of the campus,. the
architecture and design college and business administration schools
emerged on the southeast while the Law School was built on the
southwest, but there was little concern shown for planning rela-,
tionships between these units.
It was not until the post-war era that -University, planners
began to arrange comprehensive programs of development. One
such program was prepared by a faculty-administration building
committee in 1943 advocating massive state support for expansion
of the library system, the literary college, the engineering and
music schools and the residence hall systems. Their farsightedness
was verified by the later acceptance of many recommendations,
resulting in the construction of Mason and Haven Halls, the
purchase of North Campus and the erection of South Quadrangle
and Mary Markley in the fifties.
In 1951 the renowned architect Eero Saarinen presented a
general plan for North Campus which was later expanded upon
by Johnson, Johnson and Roy. The firm also did studies of the
But their major product--and the major tool for development
which exists today-was the central campus study, completed in
Drawing upon history as its major source of inspiration, the
plan charts "tendencies" of campus development since 1837. These
historical features were stressed:
-The development of the campus has been disordered pro-
gression from the center out, like the spreading ink spot. The
study notes that in some periods growth has centered in one area,
such as the area north of the central campus in the 1930s. But
the overall tendency has been concentric growth around the
original 40 acres.1
-As the ink spot has spread, smaller sub-groupings, such as
the Medical Center and athletic campus, have formed. These areas
bred their own focal; points and unique characteristics.
-The walkway has served increasingly as the dominant force
of cohesion, the plan observes. The potency of the diag in organiz-s
ing the central campus illustrates the value of the walkway and
hence should be tapped for organizing the expanded campus. The
success of the walkway system here is its simple pattern: the criss-
crossing of two diagonals focusing on a center. Yet this pattern
can be easily joined by further pathways withous destroying, it,
the plan states.
The study points to the literary college as a good example of
the inkspot theory. Its spreading core now ranges from the steps
of Angell Hall to the Physics-Astronomy Bldg.; from Tappan Hall
to the Frieze Bldg. Clustered around this core are the professional
schools-engineering, dentistry and others-many of which are
being phased out to north campus.
But the historical lesson which can be drawn, the plan states,
is that the core and cluster principle need not disappear from Cen-
tral Campus with the flight of the graduate schools. Instead, a new
core-the library complex-will arise and around it a series of sub-
campus zones will form on the fringe of the 40 acres.
These zones would not be enclosed from the library and center
by barbed wire and high gates. They would merely be smaller cam-
pus areas united by their function and bound together by a vast
system of walkways, open plazas and thoroughfares-al] the archi-
tectural devices for achieving beauty and harmony,
Specifically, the five sub-campus zones envisioned are theseo:
-An academic area northeast of Central Campus focused on
the dental school buildings and two office-=classroom complexes but
including a plaza east of the dental school, parking facilities behind
it and the development of Felch Park behind those facilities;
-An academic area directly east of Central Campus based
around the Physics-Astronomy and East Engineering Buildings but
featuring a- campus green where the East Medical Bldg. is now;
-An academic area south of Central Campus containing the
law and business administration schools and permitting major stu-
dent movement through the Law Quad, an office-classroom-housing
State St. The story of that development is traced in site plans and ;
plant department diagrams on these two pages.
Continued from Page 1
froam the conceptual point of view. Their recommendations will
" ike a strong imprint on those areas, officials say, because they
we-re concerned with the relationships of buildings, open spaces,
w ,lkways and topography of the area rather than with the speci-
n~ations for one structure.
Nowhere is conceptual planning better illustrated than in the
University's most recent and most ambitious attempt to plot its
physical future-the Central Campus study conducted by Johnson
Johnson and Roy in 1963.
As a blue print for expansion, the Central Campus plan tries
to prepare the University for what it calls "determined and in-
It calls for the creation of a diagonal walkway system that
will link, the central and surrounding campus area.
It urges the re-circulation of traffic to leave a campus which
is a haven for the pedestrian.
It seeks the development of exciting contrasts to bunched
buildings: open plazas, campus green, unusual plants and il-
It recommends the establishment of special areas arranged
around the 40 acres. Each area will be planned for a specific
function-either academics, entertainment or recreation-and
spiced with. a unique architectural flavor.,
As a conceptual guide, the campus plan has a strong sense of
history, reflecting the conscious effort\ of the planners to breed
tomorrow's campus from yesterday's and today's patterns. The
diagonals, the malls, the organized fringe areas are all elements
which have prevailed over the more than 125 years that the Uni-
versity has grown in Ann Arbor.
In the words of William Johnson, the plan is "based on the
assumption that the University will continue to grow as it has
since. the University was founded in 1837." He notes that Ann
Arbor's population at that time-2000-would today not even
crowd the library. Yet some things remain constant.
"A student today can walk no faster, get no less tired on
three flights of stairs, becomes no less drenched in a rainstorm
than in 1837."
The story of the central campus began when the state legis-
lature, wishing to relocate the University ouside the Detroit site
it had occupied since its founding, picked Ann Arbor. The reason
reportedly was an offer by an Ann Arbor land company to donate
a site for the institution.
Following the Legislature's decision, eleven Regents journeyed
by horseback to Ann Arbor from Detroit in June of 1837. They
toyed with a 40 acre location overlooking the Huron River, but
finally settled upon 40.3 acres of grassy farmland on the out-
skirts of the city.
A year later, they swapped a few acres with the land company
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