Building soup, potpourri
Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 23:03
I recently re-read The Fountainhead. Ayn Rand’s acute descriptions of building styles combined with nice weather has lead me to more outdoor lounging, and scrutiny of architecture.
And it has made me both appreciate and detest this place that we come to every day.
The history of Auraria is a long and involved one. The university began as a single building, but as more and more students began taking classes, more buildings were added and expanded.
We didn’t have the advantage of a single designer—one sole vision—laying out all of the buildings at once.
Instead, we got hundreds of heads and ideas clashing over decades, resulting in a chaotic soup of concrete and brick.
The most uniform aspect of the campus’ architecture also happens to be the most unappealing: the sterile brick design of the West, North, South, and Central classrooms.
Not only are these buildings constructed in the blandest way possible—in boxes with red brick—but they are adorned with awful ornamentation.
Monotonous clocks out of Lewis Carroll, towering concrete cylinders and purposeless patterns of windows try to make the institutional brick look exciting. But they don’t try very hard.
The Science Building is a strange marriage of this bland brick with a modern, simplistic emphasis on steel and glass.
The Library is at the other end of the spectrum. It looks almost unfinished, a box of glass and steel in a sea of brick and concrete.
Combine these inconsistencies with century-old churches, some outlying skyscrapers, a neighborhood of houses, temps, and the classier brick stylings of the Tivoli, and you have a campus that’s outright disharmonious.
But seeing the campus as a part of Downtown Denver makes our whole absurd landscape of architecture seem like nothing.
Take the little historic house by the Brown Palace, drowning in a sea of skyscrapers. Or old mills among industrial glass and steel.
The nature of the city and our campus is variety, I suppose. The Chancellor is always preaching diversity, after all.