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March 20, 1960 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1960-03-20
Note:
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Univers
(Continued from Page 5)
"MacGregor Center is a symbol
to the communuity in memorial to
Mr. MacGregor. Many generous
and private sources made possible
the enriched designs, many that
are not common with run-of-the-
mill buildings. This kind of thing
can only be done with private
funds."
Sanders pointed out that if the
University built a real gem of a
building set among pools with the
taxpayers' money, "that -there
would have been considerable hue
and cry."
Yamasaki worked under diffi-
cult conditions here. Sanders con-
tinued, which may explain the
apparent lack of imagination in
the design of the apartment build-
ings.
The Northwood apartments

ity

Architecture

were partially Federal Housing ers named the Law Quad, "taking
Adninistration sponsored, a n d it for granted, of course, that
which were quite conservative if English Gothic is appropriate for
not inhibiting-he had little choice Southern Michigan.
but to do what he did with them." From the extent of repa irs
He added that both kinds of which this harsher climate makes
architecture, the aesthetically necessary, it would seem that it
thrilling and the more mundane, is not.
are necessary. Not only are the special leaded
gutters and slate roof in need of
THEREhave been some notable constant repair, but the talent
edifices built on campus which needed to repair them is either un-
have a distinction of their own." available or abortively expensive,
The late Romance Language! which inevitably leads to the atroc-
Building, torn down in 1957 was ity of steel girders to hold up the
the only example of this that he sagging walls.
could recall. It is, however, a "good example
But with these few exceptions, of English Gothic: better than
there "aren't many, if any, archi- many of the Eastern schools which
tecturally fine buildings on cam- have imitated the same style,"
pus." Prof. Sanders said.
"There's a little publishing
building on North Campus," he PROF. NATHAN Whitman, of
said reflectively. "it's clean, with the history of art department
simple lines." He stared over at was far more outspoken in his
the Administration building and views on campus architecture.
sighed. Speaking from a declared
Discussing the "Hill" he noted "purely aesthetic" point of view,
that Alice Lloyd (along with he said "The campus is a hodge-
South Quadrangle, its partner in podge. There is nothing really ugly'
the cheesebox modern dorms) was about this University, but there
partly government financed, which is certainly nothing distinguished,
"forced restrictions that did not about it either."
auger well for them." "It's just the general mediocrity
It was over Mary Markely that of it all." he sighed. "There is
Prof. Sanders really exploded. nothing to get violently angry
;"That Markely is a pretty gross thing good about either.
object." he declared, "I don't see He stated firmly, in response to
how it is possible to form a per- Pierpont's statement about the
sonal attachment to it at all." campus as a museum of fine archi-
"It should have been divided tectural types, that "There are no
into several units, even if only fine architectural examples in the'
visually." he subsided. least on this campus. Some of the
The dormitory design could have buildings have historical interest
been better, he explained, but this in being representative of the
would have meant higher costs, popular or official taste of cer-
and economy seems to be first in tain periods."
everyone's mind. He gave as an example the
"Eero Saarinen is creating some Alumni Memorial Hall. typical of
fine dormitories at Yale, the Uni- the popular "Classical bank archi-
versity of Chicago, and the Uni- tecture" of the early years of this
versity of Pennsylvania. But of century.
course. those cost more than ours. " Angell Hall was labelled "gov-
erznmental classicism," designed to
impress by sheer size and bulk,
SANDERS ALSO pointed out that with superficial use of classical
"a problem exists even in get- motifs.
ting the best architectural talent "If you look at the end walls,
to do a building." the ones without windows, it
Discussing the projected new strikes you as a sort of cold mauso-
building designed by Le Corbusier leum of learning. This is atrophied
for Harvard, he said "It is a architecture."
human ambition to have a build-
ing represent the most final philo- THE Undergraduate' Library,
sophic statement of the architect, which seems to be the aesthetic
which can result in the building horror of the history of art de-
becoming a tour de force, not re- partment (along with the Ad
lated to the surroundings." Archi- building) he called "a great big
tecture must include overcoming brick warehouse."
the personal sense for the sense It is somewhat better looking
of the unity of the whole. from the campus side, he ad-
As one of the few successful mitted, but said that it strikes
structures on this campus, Sand- l one with its "bulk. rather thanl

TheHistorical Variety.. ~A
ofCampus Buildings f > "'#> Y" } S '
S [ aY b' 1 $ , "
Reflelc-ts the Diversity
of This Community .'
' Undergraduate Library called a brick wi
Th niversityKlioscol
By~ FAITH WEINSTEIN

Angell Hall-Cold mausoleum

NO ONE seems to like University
architecture: students shud-
der at it, fine arts instructors rant
against it in their classes, the head
of the architecture department
deplores it.
Only two groups, the men who
built it, and the men who paid for
it seem to defend the campus
buildings.
Take, for example. the admin-
istration building. Known in the
campus argot as "the salmon loaf"
it is described in various ways by
those who work in and look at it.
Vice-President for Business and
Finance Wilbur K. Pierpont de-
clares it a satisfactory building for
its purpose'. "They chose the
brownish brick in order to make a
specific building out of it, I sup-
pose, he said.
"They wanted it to stand out
from the rest of the buildings
on campus."
"Every one agrees that the se-
lection of brownish brick was a
mistake," Prof. Walter B. San-
ders, chairman of the architecture

department, disagreed. "It doesn't
harmonize or blend in with the
rest of the campus."
The building breaks away from
the old without the effectiveness
of the new," Prof. Sanders con-
tinued.
PROF. William Willcox, acting
chairman of the history de-
partment tells of an unidentified
professor who calls the motifs
across the front of the building
"Those damned umbilical decora-
tions."
"What they should have done
with the administration building
is turn it around," a history of art
department professor said. "It
really looks much better from the
the side facing the Student Ac-
tivities Building, And then. of
course, there's that awful brick,;I
it just doesn't go with anything."
But behind every building, even
the Administration Building there
is an incredible amount of plan-
ning, discussion and design.

"The University has a supervis- as you try, you can't spot every-

The Salmon Loaf

Marel ey-- gross object!
finesse or subtlety. It's the same
kind of academic architecture asC m US
tion stripped off."Campus
Angell Hall, with the ornamenta-insrpeof.
He would not accept the draw-
backs of site and budget as a ra-D
tionale for the limited design of
the building. Continued from Page 6)
"Much of the great art of the can hold 250 musicians and 75
past has been done by artists singers for a single performance.
working within imposed limita- The concrete shell is also being
tions," he said. used for Illinois' $7.5 million As-
Another history of art profes- sembly Hall designed by Harrison
sor, apparently with the same and Abramovitz of New York.
views, described a certain facet of Built on rolling terrain, the flying
Mesopotamia architecture by saucer-like construction utilizes
saying that if one brick were pulled the curved land for structural
loose, the whole structure would support. The dome . covering will
collapse in the dust-"an event allow for a pillar-free capacity
devoutly to be wished in the case seating of 19,000.
of the Undergraduate Library" The structure is designed to
but not in Mesopotamian zig- serve as a site for basketball con-
gurats. I tests. rn rnrtc rnm mtnmannt

ing architect, Lynn Fry, whoseE
primary responsibility is to act as
liaison between the various build-
ing committees on campus," Pier-
pont said.
This implies a level of bureau-
cracy that might even startle
Washington and perhaps indicates
the problems-which arise from the
apparent lack of communication
between the many building com-
mittees, and between each com-
mittee and its architect.
STANDARD building procedure
was outlined by Pierpont: First
the Regents select an architect,~
on the recommendation of 'the Of-
fice of Businness and Finance.
This office bases its choice on sev-
eral criteria.
"We consider the interests of
specific firms in constructing dif-
ferent types of buildings," Pier-
pont said, and then fit the right
firm to the right type of building,
"taking into consideration their
availablility for our time sched-
ule."
The University does not do its
own architectural work, although
some members of the architecture
faculty do serve in advisory posi-
tions.
Then a building committee,
made up of those who will use the
building, is chosen to consult with
the architect on various aspects
of the design.
This sounds reasonably simple,
but does not take into account
the problems created by either
the various factions within the
building committee, or the build-
ing committee conflicts with the
architect,
DISCUSSING the problem of the
corridor widths near the An-
gell Hall auditorium, Prof. Howard
Ehrmann of the history depart-
ment, who was on the executive
committee of the history depart-
ment, said:
"I saw the blueprints right after
1950 before the building went up.
I made the observation at that
time that the corridors were much
too narrow. This information was
duly passed on to the Dean-but
the architects went ahead any-
way,"
"Every time one of us battles
through the crowd down there,
we know it wasn't put up right. It
just can't contain the flow of stu-
dent traffic."
Prof. Ehrmann believes that
such mistakes are inevitable in
any building method.
"When I used to teach in the
Natural Science Auditorium, I
used to wonder why that building
committee allowed it to be set up
the way it was.
"Then I got on such a commit
tee myself and saw that as hard
Faith Weinstein, a sopho-
more in the literary college,
is an English major and an
assistant night editor on The
Daily.

thing."
PIERPONT defended the ration-
ale behind the style and struc-
ture of the campus buildings:
"Some people would say the cam-
pus is a museum of fine architec-
tural examples from various times.
There was as much or more in-
terest in that concept as in creat-
ing conformity in style."
He admitted that the University
had attempted no really experi-
mental architecture but added
hopefully that the Eero Saarinen
plan for North Campus was "not
experimental, but new."
He added that the Cooley lab
is "modern," and that the medi-
cal center shows "harmony of ex-
terior treatment."
Pierpont described the Under-
graduate Library as the most ex-
perimental building on campus.
"It shows a new concept in library
service . . . there aren't too many
buildings like this one . . ." He
pointed to the "limited window
space on one end, and solid wall
on the other," as being new con-
cepts in library building.
PROF. Walter B. Sanders, chair-
man of the architecture depart-
ment gave a practical apologia for

the s
ture.
T]
of ti
word
reaso
He
and
than
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same

FACULTY, students, administra-
tors all join willingly. in dis-
cussion of campus architecture,
those seeking to praise finding
praiseworthy structures, those
wishing to criticize finding plenty
of material for criticism.
With all of the complaints about
individual buildings, and the col-
lective hodge-podge of the layout
of central campus, there are a few
things that people feel drawn to
even if only through sentamental
attachment. The Law Quad in
Spring is one, Angell Hall, for all
its ponderousness, is another.
The walk down State Street has
a kind of appeal, perhaps only a
kind of historical interest. There
is an arresting quality of a series
of monumental monsters, the Un-
ion, the Ad Building, Angell Hall,
but nevertheless a kaleidoscope
charm symbolic somehow-of the
enormous diversity of the Univer-
city itself.

tw , clce us, cOmmen1ZXLICeme
exercises and other large group
events.
The common theme of all this
contemporary college building is
utility, and with this, beauty. All
of these structures are first of all
designed to be functional. Stone's
concrete screens are decorative
sunshades. They make wide use
of glass practical, and because of
their special design also serve to
enhance the appearance of the
total structure.
THAT many schools have found'
creative architects with inex-
pensive and daring designs proves
that these elements are available.
That a contemporary structure
can be placed into a traditional
setting without upsetting the
tone of the campus is also proven
by such structures as Wellesley's
Jewett Arts Center.
Here "contemporary gothic"
was utilized, In an ultra-modern
(Con cluded aon Page 11)

Northwood Apartments on North Campus

Crowded Mason Hall corridors

English GothicL

THE MICHIGAN DAILY MAGA7,NE SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 1960

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