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November 04, 2004 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-04

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12B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 4, 2004
Saying farewell to the historic Frieze


By Leah Hangarter
For the Daily
If one stands on the Diag and
observes the surrounding buildings,
external differences are difficult to
see. Recent renovations have modern-
ized Angell Hall, but to the untrained
eye most seem to belong in the same
architectural family. The buildings
on Central Campus each have unique
and interesting traits, but few have as
distinct a personality as the Frieze
Built in 1907, the Frieze building
was the Ann Arbor High School until
the University acquired it in 1956.
_ If one approaches the building from
the south side, it as if time is reverted
back to the 1950s and you can almost
see high school students in full skirts
and skinny ties socializing outside
before the start of class, replacing the
harried university students. Coming
from the north side, one is transport-
ed even farther back in time to the
early 20th century. In this scene, the
current students transform into Ann
Arbor residents of the 1920s exiting
the building carrying not school-
books, but library books from the city
library. The Carnegie Library, a his-
toric part of Frieze, was occupied by
the Ann Arbor Public Library until
the public library moved to its current
Entering the building continues the
trip back in time. The addition built
in 1957 is classic retro, full of harsh
architecture and brown and beige
decor. Dark narrow hallways and low
ceilings create an oppressive feel in
much of the addition. Walk around
a little more and you will certainly
stumble across the rows of lockers.
Lockers in a University facility? "It
looks like a broken-down old high

school," says Justin Stoney, an LSA
senior, "Oh wait, it is." Students on
campus are eager to criticize the
Frieze building and many reacted
with enthusiasm to University Presi-
dent Mary Sue Coleman's plans to
demolish the building and construct
a new residence hall and academic
space. "Good riddance. I think it's a
terrible building. It's old and it smells
bad," Stoney adds.
The building deterioration is con-
sidered far below the standard of edu-
cation prided at the University. "It is
one of the uglier buildings," acknowl-
edges Gary Beckman, the chair of
the Near Eastern Studies depart-
ment. Notable aesthetic differences
between Frieze and other facilities
on campus may also be interpreted
as placing unequal value on various
LSA departments. "All the programs
that aren't mainstream are conve-
niently placed in the Frieze building.
It's insulting." said Hilary Baer, an
LSA senior majoring in political sci-
ence. Currently the building houses
the LSA departments of Film and
Video, Communication Studies, the
Frankel Center for Judaic Studies,
Near Eastern Studies, Asian Lan-
guages and Cultures and Linguistics,
along with the Music School's The-
atre and Drama department.
Although the addition built in 1957
is dated and unattractive, the original
parts of the building constructed in
1907 exude a certain charm. In addi-
tion to the high ceilings and large
windows of the older sections, there
is a pervasive creative energy. Two
theaters, production studios, costume
and scenery workshops and film and
video classrooms are full of students
working towards creating art. This
undercurrent of activity breathes life

The Frieze Building, previously an Ann Arbor high school, still boasts some charm despite its many problems.

into a building that will not have the
chance to see it's 100th birthday.
The new building will house a 500-
bed residence hall and academic space
with facilities for academic depart-
ments as part of an initiative to more
closely link students' academic and
residential experiences. "It's exactly
what the University of Michigan needs
more of and it's a great location," said
Stoney. Baer agrees, believing this
will be especially beneficial to fresh-
man as a "gradual immersion into a
huge campus."
The residence hall will consist of
suite-style rooms with shared semi-
private bathrooms. Shared academic
areas will include space for use by
students and faculty, such as meet-

ing rooms, studios, classrooms and
production facilities. Faculty offices
will also be located in the building.
A combination of academic and resi-
dential life may be beneficial for stu-
dents, but "one wonders how noisy an
academic and dorm building will be,"
questioned Beckman. "I don't think it
would be very nice to have rap music
coming through the walls while try-
ing to work."
In addition to questions from fac-
ulty and staff about their future relo-
cation, members of the Ann Arbor
community are concerned about the
demolishment of the building. The
announcement of the future raz-
ing of the Frieze Building received
mixed reactions in the Ann Arbor

community. Local preservationists
expressed wishes for the University
to restore the building in recognition
of its historical significance in Ann
Arbor. Coleman addressed this issue,
explaining that restoration would cost
significantly more than construction
of a new building. The University will
attempt to preserve some of the build-
ing's historical importance, incorpo-
rating the Carnegie Library into the
new facility.
Construction is scheduled to begin
in 2006 and completion is targeted
for 2008. Students have little time left
to appreciate the Frieze building as a
piece of history, beloved by commu-
nity members, or to commiserate with
others fed up about its current state.


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Groove kicks percus-
sion style into high gear

By Andrew Launch
For the Daily
The University's own rhythmic
renaissance group, Groove, packs a high
energy sonic punch. The STOMP-esque
group wields an array of percussive
artillery, banging garbage cans to saw-
ing wood. It combines a little music and
a lot of creativity with extra emphasis on
Engineering senior Lev Gartman
gave birth to Groove a year ago. "I knew
there would be a market for it in college,"
Gartman said. He credits its booming
popularity to its accessibility regard-
less of musical knowledge. "There's so
much diversity in the songs that there's
a role for everyone," he adds.
A program played at the League
Underground on Oct. 29 highlighted
Groove's diversity. The group opened
with a clapping routine that turned
audience applause into a regular beat
machine. It then followed with a carpen-
try skit in which saw, hammer and drill
turned into musical instruments. Later,
it added a dance routine with puppets,
continued with a beer bottle rendition of

"2001 A Space Odyssey" and finished
with a trash can drum parade.
Since its inception, Groove has bal-
looned from two interested members
in 2003 to more than 32 musicians
who give up more than eight hours to
rehearsal each week. The biggest prob-
lem, Gartman explains without losing
his smile, is discipline: "These kids just
have too much fun."
Though the nature of the performance
often seems childish, it never sacrifices
the professionalism of its sound. "Sur-
prisingly, everyone does come together"
Gartman remarks.
Next year, Gartman will be moving
on, having accepted an internship posi-
tion from none other than STOMP. As
for Groove, Engineering and Music stu-
dent Mark Swiderski will take over as
"conductor of soul." Gartman hopes to
nurture Groove to a point where he can
return in 20 years and attend a perfor-
mance. He wants the group to eventu-
ally expand outside the University and
into elementary schools, high schools or
even a wedding or two. "My biggest rule
of thumb," Gartman adds, "is to never
rule anything out."


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