The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 3B
Regal and legal Law Quad
The story behind
the serene and
By VERONICA MENALDI
Daily Arts Writer
Regardless of the season, there
are always plenty of students
walking through the grassy (or
snow-covered) area of the Law
Quadrangle. People have long
been fascinated with the beauty
of its mystical architecture.
Consisting of four main build-
ings - the Lawyer's Club, the
John P. Cook Dormitory, the
Legal Research Library and
Hutchins Hall - the Law Quad
has held a long and storied his-
tory, with the construction of the
first of the buildings dating back
to 1925 and the latest one having
been completed in 1933.
First-year Law student Wen-
cong Fa finds both the beauty and
history of the Quad mesmerizing.
"I've seen pictures of it before
I came here, but it was better
than anything I could have imag-
ined," Fa said.
One of his favorite places in the
Law Quad is the arch leading to
the dining hall, since it serves as
agreat connecting space between
the Law community and the rest
of the University.
Fa finds the Law Quad's inclu-
siveness very convenient.
"It's an amazing place," he
said. "I like how it prompts you
to get a lot closer to everyone.
This is one of the reasons why
we have such a tight-knit com-
munity at Michigan Law - you
see your classmates, you see
your professors. Everyone is
really accessible since you see
them all the time."
For second-year Law student
Justin Benson, this all-inclusive
design captures the intellectual
energy of the Law School.
"Wherever you go, you can feel
that energy," he said.
His favorite spot in the Quad
is the Reading Room, both for its
aestheticism and the muse it pro-
vides him, particularly when he
is studying for hours on end.
The first time he set eyes on the
Quad, Benson was an undergrad-
uate student at the University. He
used the intriguing qualities of
the Quad as motivation to work
hard so he could have the oppor-
tunity to be a Law student in such
an inspirational area.
"(The Law Quad) is old and
beautiful, and I think that's what
makes it an appropriate space to
become a lawyer," Benson said.
"You are surrounded by extreme-
ly bright and engagingcolleagues
and being around these people
and the Quad's beauty is what
makes it so conductive to the
study of law."
For J.S.D. candidate Tianlong
Hu, the fascination with the
quadrangle has more to do with
the smaller things.
As an international student
from China, he served as a recep-
tionist for Chinese visitors and
has found the main attraction to
the Quad are the minor details -
usually looked over by most.
"They are more interested in
seeing the soft parts, like those
window glasses on Hutchins Hall
or those little sculptures in the
building walls," Hu said.
He said these soft details
even inspired a legal historian
at Peking University Law School
in China to improve the campus
courthouse with decorations
inspired by what he saw in the
University's Law Quad.
"People usually (overlook)'
small details and don't pay atten-
tion to them, but visitors show a
different viewpoint," he said.
Another aspect that is very
impressive to international visi-
tors, Hu said, is the modern func-
tionality of the old buildings.
"They are surprised to see how
the buildings that are 80 years
old are able to incorporate mod-
ern technology like elevators," he
The concept behind the Law
Quad's classic construction has
its roots in the 1400s, when the
leaders of Cambridge's King's
College in England had a philoso-
phy of designing a school with
everything included in the same
site. The Law Quad's design was
inspired by such a concept.
A quadrangle by definition is
a space or courtyard usually in
the shape of a square or rectangle
whose sides are walls of build-
ings. Though the design was very
common in European colleges,
American universities prefer to
have multiple college buildings
spread across campus.
University Planner Sue Gott
said the University's Law Quad
took this understanding to build
an all-inclusive residential,
learning and research environ-
ment through a gothic revival for
the University's Law students.
The buildings comprising the
quad were built in a variety of
related styles, including English,
Elizabethan and gothic. They
also have classical features, with
Greek revival themes snuck in
throughout the complex. The
quad itself includes a number of
details, including six sculptured
corbels crouching at the main
entrances that have the faces of
prominent past University presi-
dents James Angell, Marion
Burton, Henry Frieze, Erastus
Haven, Harry Hutchins and
Even for those who aren't
familiar with the history of ear-
lier colleges, the quad provokes a
sense of awe in most spectators
far and near.
"It's simply a magical and
inspiring setting because it is
unique and not typical to other
areas of campus and even other
campuses across the country,"
Gott said the Law Quad's
beauty and early design are
planned to be maintained as the
complex adapts to building codes
and makes use of state-of-the-art
"We will always be evolving
and adapting but certainly pursu-
ing (the Quad's) integrity," Gott
said. "Any new or future devel-
opment would be sensitive with a
Back in the 1990s, develop-
ments included the construction
of a state-of-the-art Moot Court-
room. Currently the Quad is
undergoing even more additions,
which include the Law School
Academic Building and Hutchins
Hall Law School Commons.
The purpose of the Academic.
Building is to house more class-
rooms, clinical work spaces,
multi-purpose rooms and offices
for the faculty and administrators
of the Law School. The Commons
is being built to accommodate
student study, interaction and
"It's designed to very clearly
express that it is within the col-
lection of buildings of the Law
School so that it will very intui-
tively speak to you as a continua-
tion of the quad," Gott said.
Whether thebuildings in ques-
tion were built back in 1925 or in
2011, their irrefutably unique
qualities - be they breathtaking
archways or modernized tech-
nology within the walls of the
magical structures - will contin-
ue to provide a muse for Univer-
sity students for years to come.
If spring didn't exist - some-
I times in Ann Arbor I think it
doesn't - poets would have had
to invent it. Breezes no longer
sting, but soothe, and daylight
of the myriad
the mineral DAVID
smell of rain LUCAS
all this juice and all this joy?"
Gerard Manley Hopkins asks -
and though we know what it is
and trust it to arrive, spring nev-
ertheless surprises and overjoys
when it does.
Cycles of life and death con-
cern us all, of course, but poets
seem particularly obsessed. So
it's no surprise that they have
plenty to say about the most
symbolically resonant of all
seasons. In Philip Larkin's "The
Trees," buds have justbegun to
open. Larkin imagines the blos-
soming trees as
... unresting castles (which)
In fullgrown thickness every
Last year is dead, they seem to
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
The richness of sound - espe-
cially the repeated "sh" in the
last line - recalls the rustle of
youngleaves, a music we may
have forgotten since last Novem-
ber. But the trees only seem to
say anything at all; we are the
ones who give voice to what we
see, smell and feel happening
And happening within us. The
season, Tony Hoagland reminds
us in "Just Spring," "drives more
(than) birds and flowers crazy."
And desire, "if you don't let it
out, everybody knows /backs
up and poisons you inside / like
old sap clogged inside a tree."
The Freudian teenagers in Hoa-
gland's poem vandalize church-
es "because they loved their
mothers so much / it was killing
them," and a recent divorcee
swears off love, even though she
secretly wants to be
... kissed all over her thirty-nine-
year old body
until, like Spring,
she comes and comes and comes.
Suffering Mother of God. Sweet
That's not to say it's all juice
and joy, though. If spring comes
with its melodies of love and
rejuvenation, such love and reju-
venation also remind us of all
that does not return, what is lost
T.S. Eliot opens "The Waste
Land" in springbut, lost in his
own spiritual desert, declares
that "April is the cruellest
month." Earthly reawakening
isn't much good to one whose
mind and heart remain wintry.
"To what purpose, April, do
you return again?" asks Edna
St. Vincent Millay in "Spring."
"Beauty is not enough." And it
never is, much as it astonishes
us for simply being. "It is not
enough that yearly, down this
hill, /April / Comes like an idiot,
babbling and strewing flowers."
Those of us who live in the
upper Midwest must beware
the false spring that lasts about
20 minutes before returning us
to a winter redux, colder than
ever. In "The Birds Return," the
Polish poet Wislawa Szymbo-
rska watches the birds "again
come back too early," and pro-
Rejoice, O reason, instinct can
It dozes off, it overlooks - and
down they fall into the snow,
and perish senselessly.
To watch this happen seems
unjust, even unnatural, to a
human sensibility. But Szym-
borska makes clear that this
is how new beginnings in fact
begin. Szymborska stakes a
clever, subtle claim on behalf
of those fallen birds, and false
spring, regarding the dropped
birds from the perspective of a
stone "which in its archaic and
boorish way / looks on all life as
attempts repeatedly failed."
The failures are necessary
and can even be beautiful
themselves. University English
Prof. Linda Gregerson writes
in "Spring Snow" of"a kind of
counter- / blossoming, diver-
sionary, // doomed." In this
spring blizzard, the old season
is not yet ready to be dethroned:
made (who little thought
what beauty weighs) to bow
before their elders.
See LUCAS, Page 4B
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By KELLY ETZ dodgeball-wielding bullies, a
DailyArts Writer hopeless crush on a cheerleader
and that brutally awkward phase
"Freaks and Geeks" might just known as puberty.
be the best show you've never As Lindsay attempts to navi-
seen. Miles ahead of the multi- gate her way through the "freaks"
tude of other programs centered crowd, she invariably falls for its
around a group of high school James Dean-esque leader Daniel
students, it's witty, refreshing (James Franco, "127 Hours") and
and just as relevant today as it incurs the wrathof Daniel's some-
was a decade ago. The beauty of times girlfriend, self-imposed
the series lies in its ability to be badass Kim (Busy Philipps, "Cou-
at once uncommonly ordinary garTown"). Other members of the
and refreshingly real, depicting "freaks" gang include Nick (Jason
the fears, humiliations and tri- Segel, "How I Met Your Mother"),
umphs of adolescence without a John Bonham-idolizing dream-
ever slipping into sappy dialogue er, and Ken (Seth Rogen, "The
or romanticized nostalgia. It's Green Hornet"), a wonderfully
brutal honesty at its finest. deadpan stoner. Despite their less-
Set in 1980s suburban Michi- than-shiny exteriors, the "freaks"
gan at William McKinley High prove to be complicated and
(Really "Glee," you couldn't think surprisingly vulnerable people
of an original high school?), the underneath the slacker attitudes.
series centers around Lindsay While Lindsay assimilates her-
(Linda Cardellini, "ER") and self with burnout culture, Sam
Sam Weir (John Francis Daley, runs with the "geeks" - the ones
"Bones"). Lindsay, a recover- who've seen "Star Wars" 27 times,
ing mathlete, finds herself in an play "Dungeons & Dragons" and
existential crisis of self-identity are prone to William Shatner
and takes to hanging with the impersonations. They consist of
"freaks" as a way to break from Neal (Samm Levine, "Inglourious
the "good-girl" mold. Sam, a Basterds"), a Jewish comic genius,
103-pound freshman, is juggling and Bill (Martin Starr, "Party
Down"), an adorably gangly brai- and Geeks" with all the hopes,
niac in coke-bottle glasses. fears, contradictions and crazi-
Both groups of young actors ness of life in high school - all
deliver top-notch performances, without ever resorting to the
deftly hitting every authentic after-school special "lesson."
note. Special consideration goesto Instead, each episode is filled
Cardellini's depiction of Lindsay's with an overwhelming sense of
agonizing quest for self-discovery understanding of the exquisite
and Starr's expert portrayal of agony that is high school. Every
the endearingly out-of-touch Bill. embarrassing moment is there,
from failing to host a keg party
to showering after gym class.
Despite being canceled after
only 18 episodes, the series was
was a freak? nominated for an Outstanding
Writing for a Comedy Series
Surely you jest. Emmy in both 2000 and 2001.
Since then, it has accumulated
a vast and loyal fan base and the
entire series has been released
A host of minor characters often on DVD. It's worth the cost just
steal the scene, each demonstrat- to see the evolution of some of the
ing a satirical cliche and a healthy actors we have come to know and
dose of humanity. Some hilarious love, back in their awkward phas-
cameo appearances by Ben Still- es and acting their hearts out.
er ("Little Fockers") and Jason In the end, "Freaks and Geeks"
Schwartzman ("Scott Pilgrim vs. isn't sexy, glamorous or set in a
The World") round out the excel- fantasy high school world where
lent cast. everyone is overly beautiful and
Producer Judd Apatow overly dramatic ("Secret Life of
("Knocked Up") and writer Paul the American Teenager," any-
Feig ("The Office") packed each one?). It's simply damn good tele-
60-minute episode of "Freaks vision.