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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question that is just coincidental with the death of UIC architect Architect Walter Netsch:

I've seen pictures of one of the classroom buildings at UIC that has been redesigned. It's concrete framed window "slits" have been replaced with picture windows and stainless steel.

All regular classroom buildings at UIC, of course, were of the same design with that heavy use of concrete and the distinctive (if rather depressing) windows. That theme has been carried out in the high rise University Hall as well as other campus buildings like the engineering office bldg and the midrise portion of the union.

I looked at the UIC web site to find out what type of plan was in place to convert all campus buildings to that new look. I couldn't find a thing. It obviously would make no sense to change one building; others have to follow. I just can't find info on this even though it obviously has to be there.

Does anyone know what the University plans to do about incorporating this new design campus wide. Again it would be evident that all other basic classroom buildings will get this look, but what about other campus buidlings like Univ Hall and other campus bldgs.

Any info would be greatly apprecaited.
 

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I believe the building you're talking about is Grant Hall. I don't know if they will do similar exterior renovations campus-wide, but they are doing the same thing to Lincoln Hall next door.
 

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Every time I show people UIC (where i went for one year to get my masters) people always go:

oh my god...! That's a university?! It looks like a bomb shelter or some factory.


haha....I remember when I came from Iowa to tour the university, i was....surprised.
 

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They just finished Grant Hall renovation to an all glass building, and they started for Lincoln hall. The plan is to eventually expand that design into more buildings. The new buildings will be all glass too, this was the design for the new chemistry buiding, not sure when they are going to build it:




There are plans for more buildings esp an engineering building. And also more dorms. With UIUC full to the brim UIC will be getting the overflow as it is probably the 2nd best public school in Illinois after UIUC.

The biggest problem with UIC is it is NOT a sports school every college has sports, UIC has no football stadium, nor even as close to the sports offered at UIUC.

There is a HUGE HUGE rich/poor disparity at UIC. The suburban kids who have no problem paying for the dorms on Southcampus. While there are a lot of innercity kids who go to UIC and cannot afford dorms. Another reason why UIC tuition is much lower than UIUC.

It will indeed be difficult to get in every year, the avg ACT score for Engineering is up from 25.5 to 27. The tuition is also being raised inorder to fund more campus improvements.

Here a few pics of the new UIC:

 

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Every time I show people UIC (where i went for one year to get my masters) people always go:

oh my god...! That's a university?! It looks like a bomb shelter or some factory.


haha....I remember when I came from Iowa to tour the university, i was....surprised.
It's still better looking/planned than where I did my undergrad. With that said my department (urban planning) is actually located in a converted warehouse/factory on S. Peoria just south of the blue line/expressway.

Here's a few photos of Binghamton University, my alma mattar.



 

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I think a lot of people who went to UIC before 2000 and then when they come and visit campus they will be really surprised. The new Rec Center is HUGE and rocks! Its better than 99% of the gyms in the suburbs.

Before no one ventured south of Roosevelt st, now its the best and most beautiful place on campus. They have multimillion dollar homes there now. The UIC bus driver once said this to me:

"We never imagined 10yrs ago that there would be million dollar apartments on Maxwell St., I remember growing up here as a child when it was bascially a ghetto"
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think a lot of people who went to UIC before 2000 and then when they come and visit campus they will be really surprised. The new Rec Center is HUGE and rocks! Its better than 99% of the gyms in the suburbs.

Before no one ventured south of Roosevelt st, now its the best and most beautiful place on campus. They have multimillion dollar homes there now. The UIC bus driver once said this to me:

"We never imagined 10yrs ago that there would be million dollar apartments on Maxwell St., I remember growing up here as a child when it was bascially a ghetto"
Storm, that would have included me (I graduated from what was then UICC in the old "Circle" days), if I hadn't been keeping abreast of all the new developments as they were happening. If instead I had a real time lapse, I think that "surprise" might be more "shock"
 

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I'm going to be a Sophomore this coming fall at UIC, and I was able to get a room in the newest James Stukel Towers (one of the towers is in the picture above, with Sears), it's very nice! South of Roosevelt, along Halsted is very nice now. University Village has some very nice apartments as well. My dorm last year was on the West side in the Illinois Medical District. So being closer will be much easier for commuting to classes.

I had no idea about that new Chemistry building planned, it looks like it's going to be a nice departure from the old.

As for Grant Hall, I think that was renovated, first at least, because there aren't as many classrooms as the other halls. The first floor is home to the writing center, and they needed more space I suppose. But oh well, I'm not really sure.
 

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I'm going to be a Sophomore this coming fall at UIC, and I was able to get a room in the newest James Stukel Towers (one of the towers is in the picture above, with Sears), it's very nice! South of Roosevelt, along Halsted is very nice now. University Village has some very nice apartments as well. My dorm last year was on the West side in the Illinois Medical District. So being closer will be much easier for commuting to classes.

I had no idea about that new Chemistry building planned, it looks like it's going to be a nice departure from the old.

As for Grant Hall, I think that was renovated, first at least, because there aren't as many classrooms as the other halls. The first floor is home to the writing center, and they needed more space I suppose. But oh well, I'm not really sure.
The chem building was supposed to be built and finished in 2007 but the funds fell through from Springfield. I'm not sure when it will be finished now.
 

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Storm, that would have included me (I graduated from what was then UICC in the old "Circle" days), if I hadn't been keeping abreast of all the new developments as they were happening. If instead I had a real time lapse, I think that "surprise" might be more "shock"
Here are some before and after shots:

University Hall
BEFORE:



AFTER:



Classroom:
BEFORE:

AFTER:


Another Classroom:
BEFORE:

AFTER:

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
^^Storm, it was either that or turn the facility into a prison. Looks like the university made the right move!
 

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I realize that there are some diehard supporters of UIC's architecture, but those pictures give a good idea of how badly change was needed. I don't care how revolutionary it was, that campus was a failure. It turns out people like windows. Netsch did great work elsewhere, but one's respect for the person shouldn't require us to settle for such dismal buildings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I realize that there are some diehard supporters of UIC's architecture, but those pictures give a good idea of how badly change was needed. I don't care how revolutionary it was, that campus was a failure. It turns out people like windows. Netsch did great work elsewhere, but one's respect for the person shouldn't require us to settle for such dismal buildings.
the damned roof of the Lecture Center (where it was always dank and dreary night...day or night) was bad enough....but it also leaked. On top of the Lecture center 4 strange amphitheatre structures that gave the impression of a moonscape.

The campus was designed and even called a fortress. It was walled off from the neighborhood it considered unsafe although its brtual architecture was enough of a deterent from entering.

Abner, your assessments of the original campus were right on. Thank goodness that it has already been redeveloped with more to come and that it is now a warmer and more inviting enivornment.

***

Thanks for the input from everyone here who responded. Before I started the thread, I had searched UIC's website and found nothing related to a master plan (which moreuniversities are more than happy to inc. on their sites). STRANGE!
 

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Thanks for the input from everyone here who responded. Before I started the thread, I had searched UIC's website and found nothing related to a master plan (which moreuniversities are more than happy to inc. on their sites). STRANGE!
They were currently working on one now. The old master plan was up for a long time, on many UIC websites. It was about the southcampus expansion. You wont see the new one for a while, prolly not till the new UIC president comes in Jan 2009.

I would like to see more dorms, renovated SEL, an new engineering building, and actually build the chem building.

IMO they should raise the tuition to match UIUC. UIC is $7.5k/yr where as UIUC is $13k
 

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I realize that there are some diehard supporters of UIC's architecture, but those pictures give a good idea of how badly change was needed. I don't care how revolutionary it was, that campus was a failure. It turns out people like windows. Netsch did great work elsewhere, but one's respect for the person shouldn't require us to settle for such dismal buildings.
Calling UIC a failure is an understatement. It's the worst campus I've ever seen. Even though it isn't plausible, I'd like to bulldoze everything except the Administration Building, a true gem, and start anew.
 

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Calling UIC a failure is an understatement. It's the worst campus I've ever seen. Even though it isn't plausible, I'd like to bulldoze everything except the Administration Building, a true gem, and start anew.
I don't know if its U of I's fault for the design, in the 60's that was the leading design. Skidmore Owens and Co. built the campus, they are one of the top if not best architectural firm.

And its not like the school is rolling in money that they can just bulldoze everything. It will be a slow transition.
 

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I don't know if its U of I's fault for the design, in the 60's that was the leading design. Skidmore Owens and Co. built the campus, they are one of the top if not best architectural firm.
SOM has been responsible for some of the greatest buildings ever built (JHC, Inland Steel, etc.), but Netsch laid a lemon with respect to UIC's campus. If you've ever tried to navigate your way through some of his impossibly confusing buildings, you'll understand. Apparently, the modernist aphorism "form follows function" was not taken into account by Netsch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
They were currently working on one now. The old master plan was up for a long time, on many UIC websites. It was about the southcampus expansion. You wont see the new one for a while, prolly not till the new UIC president comes in Jan 2009.

I would like to see more dorms, renovated SEL, an new engineering building, and actually build the chem building.

IMO they should raise the tuition to match UIUC. UIC is $7.5k/yr where as UIUC is $13k
does that mean that the current "glassfication" is not a part of the plan. i don't get it, Storm. If they were able to go ahead with this change and others, why don't they share what they have with the public at this point? Nobody holds a gun to their head to stick to a master plan word by word; people know that it is just a framework.

Maybe it's just me, but I consider it pretty irresponsible on their part not to have something for people to see on this type of development.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
SOM has been responsible for some of the greatest buildings ever built (JHC, Inland Steel, etc.), but Netsch laid a lemon with respect to UIC's campus. If you've ever tried to navigate your way through some of his impossibly confusing buildings, you'll understand. Apparently, the modernist aphorism "form follows function" was not taken into account by Netsch.
I agree. Question is, how much is this the result of the directive on the part of the university to a rather unique and unfortunate idea: sharp line of distrinction between campus and neighborhood? As mentioned earlier, it was looked at, at the time, as Fortress UICC. Add to that context of totally ripping out an existing neighborhood without batting an eye lash and the frankly brutal and overly utilitarian architecture of the early 1960's, is his work, as monstrous as it may be, at least in some sort of context.

Combination architectural era (sterile)*, methodology (rip up a neighborhood), and fear (a wall must separate "them" from "us"), is it a big surprise that UICC came to birth and that UIC wants to put the past behind it?

* I'm not suggesting that the Meisian ideals that you suggest were bad architecture (hardly); I am merely reflecting on an era that often gave little thought to architecture in planning. You can see it in virtually all the tract homes built in the 1950's; or if you really want to become naucious, think of a 1950's strip mall...if you dare. Inland Steel was like the Seagrim Bldg in Manhattan, IMHO: seen as a standout among its peers. And since UICC planning was more of a 50's thing, even JHC was to benefit from an evolution of thinking in the 60's.
 
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