Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Do Campus Looks Count?

How important is architecture when it comes to picking colleges? I wondered about that when I read an article on campus architecture. It's written for college administrators, suggesting points to consider when it's time to build. If the campus is old, should an effort be made to create old Ivy by planting a new and similar looking building? And as a place of advanced learning in the business of opening minds, should a college completely ignore the fine and dramatic work of today's architects? Or is there a middle ground?

It's an interesting question. I do remember falling in love with the feel of campuses during college tours, or even certain elements. A lovely (as defined by the prospective student) campus just seemed to be part of the whole college experience.

At the risk of sounding like Prince Charles, I did see something recently that just didn't work for me. I am from Baltimore and always thought the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus was lovely with its classic brick buildings surrounded by green lawns. I know there have been a number of new buidings installed over the past decades, but I just recently noticed the Mattin Center. It seemed to block the vistas, at least from a major street leading right up to the campus.

I sympathize with trying to build in a city, in limited space, but the Mattin Center, home of the arts for JHU, seems instead to be anti-arts.

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