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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can anything be done to save UIC from an eternity of brutal, disasterous architecture? I ask this question as an alumni who was there when this institution opened by the circle interchange.

To answer this question, you’d have to share my assumption that the Walter Netsch designed campus couldn’t have been more unfortunate for both the university and the city.

A 1960’s style concrete fortress, it was more designed to keep the city out than to become integrated into it. Its harsh, minimalist architecture fell into disrepute shortly after its inception, a time when US cities like Chicago were edgy places and much of the city’s life blood was flowing to the suburbs. UIC could only have been built in an era when expressways ripped the fabric out of urban neighborhoods and high rise warehouses were built to segregate the poor and racial minorities. It was a area when warmth and style were not synonymous with great architecture.

Since the time the Circle campus was created, newer additions have softened the blow and have been more sensitive to the surrounding (and now far-more-inviting) city. The residential complex at Harrison-Halsted is an example of such an improvement. Further humanly scaled university is now occurring south of Roosevelt Road, the university’s south campus being developed along with other components of University Village.

On the original campus, the double deck walkway has been removed, the campus center has been striped of the dank, leaky roof that topped the lecture center and greenery has been brought in throughout. It is a friendlier environment today.

But are there limits to what can be done to improve what may be the unimprovable?

Short of leveling every structure save Hull House from Halsted to Morgan, Harrison to Roosevelt, can the egrigious original mistakes and poor planning be corrected or is UIC condemned to an eternity of poor and downright uninviting and repelling architecture?

I welcome your opinons.now
 

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Despite the serious problems with the campus plan, I do like some of the original buildings, e.g. the "skyscraper" -- I don't know what the formal name for that is. My opinion is based on admittedly little -- a quick walk through campus a number of years ago.. I seem to remember that, although the buildings did not relate well to each other, they were interesting on their own. I'm a fan of Netsch -- I love the libraries at NU and UofC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ChicagoLover said:
Despite the serious problems with the campus plan, I do like some of the original buildings, e.g. the "skyscraper" -- I don't know what the formal name for that is. My opinion is based on admittedly little -- a quick walk through campus a number of years ago.. I seem to remember that, although the buildings did not relate well to each other, they were interesting on their own. I'm a fan of Netsch -- I love the libraries at NU and UofC.
It's University Hall.
 

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Yes. Its doomed forever. and ever. and ever. this campus is a prison, and me and all my drinking buddies agree, and seeing how we are the most esteemed architectual critics of the land, then it is truely so!

in all honesty, there are some GOOD buildings on campus that arent too bad. The CCC for example (Chicago Circle Center) on Halsted, by the Hull House isnt too bad, and it embraces Halsted... sort of :) It could use a lot more glass on the west side of the structure, as they have fitted it on the east side. The tower portion of the CCC aint too bad either, looks pretty clean.

West Commons Dormitory, on the corner of Halsted and Harrison, is newer construction, and is made of brick, and looks pretty nice, with windows facing the street and all. Adds density, as it comes out to the sidewalk, and is roughly 4 stories.

The BSB (Behavioral Sciences Building) isnt too shabby either, although much of the concrete, especially the grand outdoor staircases, really need reconstruction.

SEL (Science and Engineering Laboratories) is very huge, ominous, and impressive, and also contains a lot of brick construction, so its not too bad, and its modernist steel and horizontal aspects make it look almost Miesian, honestly, especially looking at it from Taylor St.

SEO is the only concrete structure i can stand. Its 13 floors of concrete, and it dosent look bad! Id like for it to be retrofitted with a whole lot of glass however. Same with UH, since they are so tall and have relatively interesting designs.

The rest of the campus needs to be demolished and completely rebuilt, because its utter crap. Concrete = crap. It just ages so horribly.
 

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Buildings at UIC:

UH - University Hall


West Commons Dormitories


SEO - Science and Engineering Offices


BSB - Behavioral Sciences Building


and a monstorous picture for a monsterous building...
SEL - Science and Engineering Labs


sorry to all 56kers :p


the rest of UIC just looks like this:


tear this shit down! or atleast expand the damn windows and get rid of the exterior concrete!
 

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Those aren't very bad brutalist buildings, you guys are just spoiled because you live in a city with great architecture (yes I'm jealous). At least there's nothing as bad as the Genex Tower in Belgrade:
 

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yeah, i guess thats true. hell, we even amke brutalism look good, ala Marina City:



what really sucks is that UIC replaced a fantastic neighborhood, that was completely demolished for the crap that resides there now. While UIC definatly is a very important asset to the city of Chicago, bringing many research dollars and 25,000 students to downtown, architectually... its vomit-inducing.

it might change however. as UIC ages (its about half a century old now), the concrete structures are just falling apart. a rehab is definatly going to be needed, and hopefully, the administration takes advantage of that oppurtunity to do a lot of facade treatment and add some uplifting and freeing glass :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Rivernorth said:
Yes. Its doomed forever. and ever. and ever. this campus is a prison, and me and all my drinking buddies agree, and seeing how we are the most esteemed architectual critics of the land, then it is truely so!

in all honesty, there are some GOOD buildings on campus that arent too bad. The CCC for example (Chicago Circle Center) on Halsted, by the Hull House isnt too bad, and it embraces Halsted... sort of :) It could use a lot more glass on the west side of the structure, as they have fitted it on the east side. The tower portion of the CCC aint too bad either, looks pretty clean.

West Commons Dormitory, on the corner of Halsted and Harrison, is newer construction, and is made of brick, and looks pretty nice, with windows facing the street and all. Adds density, as it comes out to the sidewalk, and is roughly 4 stories.

The BSB (Behavioral Sciences Building) isnt too shabby either, although much of the concrete, especially the grand outdoor staircases, really need reconstruction.

SEL (Science and Engineering Laboratories) is very huge, ominous, and impressive, and also contains a lot of brick construction, so its not too bad, and its modernist steel and horizontal aspects make it look almost Miesian, honestly, especially looking at it from Taylor St.

SEO is the only concrete structure i can stand. Its 13 floors of concrete, and it dosent look bad! Id like for it to be retrofitted with a whole lot of glass however. Same with UH, since they are so tall and have relatively interesting designs.

The rest of the campus needs to be demolished and completely rebuilt, because its utter crap. Concrete = crap. It just ages so horribly.
I would agree with you about CCC, which interestingly is the only one of the original buildings you put on the acceptable list. Personally I look at UIC in terms of the original campus was the true disaster and nothing added afterwards was nearly as bad. I do think the removal of the walkway and the absolute moonscape that was the top of the Lecture Center improved things, but geez, this place is just not inviting.

One thing I did notice on a more recent trip to UIC: some of the buildings are sporting ivy. Maybe that's what the campus needs: more ivy to cover some of the starkest of structures. Another consideration: what about adding color to some of these buidlings to project a brighter, more inviting setting?
 

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eh, a lot of buildings just need demolition. you cant just cover everything in ivy and bright colors and think to yourself yeah, this is ok :p

with the exception of the few buildings i listed above, id be glad to see all the rest go. and i would just be overjoyed to wave goodbye to the crappy concrete works of 'art' that are outside the Richard J Daley Library and SEL... god awful crumbling concrete crap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Rivernorth said:
haha, Carms is good shit. dont forget Thai Bowl too! :D
sadly when I was a student at UIC, the only type of Thai food served in Chicago would have been the part of a chicken above the leg!
:bash:
 
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