Reverence for buildings

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As an architecture student, I felt that the April 10 column concerning the new developments on the East Mall as compared to what is seen as the traditional architecture style of West and South Campus was quite short-sighted. No, the East side will not look like the original 40 Acres, and it shouldn’t. To simply continue that style would reduce the “specialness” and grandeur that belongs to those original buildings. Furthermore, constraining new development to a specific, one-sided image of what the University is supposed to be is stifling to both the creativity of the architects asked to create great spaces for students and for students to be challenged and engaged in the spaces they use. 

No one wants to see another incident like the events surrounding the Blanton’s development happen again, where the fear of something different saddled the campus with a building that pales in comparison to the original groundbreaking proposal. I believe the contemporary look of buildings like the Student Activities Center and Dell Gates Complex capture the feel of the University today: a University that builds from the material of the past — in this instance literally, through use of local materials like limestone, brick and red shale — to create a place accepting of diversity and exploration. Don’t fear the new; embrace the future.

Andrew Houston
Architecture and urban studies senior