Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New York has a Beautiful Capitol

It is Empire State Plaza that is the problem.

A second category occurs to me: bad buildings by great architects. John Portman's Westin Peachtree Hotel in Atlanta would be one; I.M. Pei's Hoffman Hall on the USC campus might be another. And while it is heresy to say so, I am not crazy about H.H. Richardson's Sever Hall on the Harvard Campus.

As a number of commentators noted, college campuses are fertile ground for finding bad buildings. Mather House at Harvard is really appalling, as is most of the MIT campus (Kresge Auditorium being an important exception). Cal Tech, on the other hand, is very nice.

The campus of the University of British Columbia is perhaps the most outstanding example of a clash between breathtakingly ugly buildings and breathtakingly beautiful surroundings.

The most beautiful campuses I have seen in the US are Indiana U and the University of Virginia (thank you Mr. Jefferson). Elon University, a small school in North Carolina, has a very attractive campus. UC-Santa Barbara has such amazing surroundings, it is hard to believe anyone gets any work done there.

8 comments:

Uncle Billy said...

Whatever else happens to UCLA, they will still have the Quad. Good old solid (and well retrofitted) buildings.

Anonymous said...

Next time you're in NC, go visit Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. Or, just visit www.wfu.edu.

The architecture is wonderful in an understated, timeless way.

commercial real estate said...

there are a lot of good places in New York, that's why many people go and visit this city...

Anonymous said...

Wurster Hall UC Berkeley. What a butt-ugly Brutalist pile of concrete! dave.s.
http://arch.ced.berkeley.edu/kap/images/wur1a.jpg

Anonymous said...

Does "Brattle House" on Tory Row still exist? Not sure what to call the style, but I think I like it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Brattle_House

http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/chistory/section1.htm

Austin Kelly said...

I.M. Pei's apartment building in the middle of 55th street on the u of chicago campus certainly counts as a bad building by a good architect. in my day the students knew it as "monoxide island" but apparently nowadays students call it "the toaster."

Anonymous said...

Chicago apartment building: "The Toaster" because it's warm, or because it bursts into flame?

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