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Thread: Ugliest college/university campus

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Ugliest college/university campus

    This came up on another message board, and there might be some interesting responses if the question was posed here- in your opinion, what are the ugliest college or university campuses you've seen?

    My two nominations:

    Valparaiso University - Valparaiso, Indiana - It's not really ugly per se, but the campus plan is based on a suburban office park model rather than a traditional collegiate model, and it does look the part. No quads, no commons, no courtyards, no gathering areas, no clearly defined center - just red brick buildings of various sizes and forms scattered around a ring road.

    Given the choice, I'll take ugly 1960s institutional and early 1970s brutalist-style concrete buildings on a traditional quad-and-common campus than attractive buildings arranged with no regard to creating an actual place.



    University at Buffalo North Campus - Amherst, New York - Mark Goldman, the author of two books documenting the forces behind the economic decline of Buffalo, actually verfied that the UL was true for the UB North Campus. Academic buildings are laid out in a "spine" with no central gathering area. In the administration building, the only way to get to the President's office is to take an elevator; no stairs inside the building lead directly to the floor. If there's a riot, the elevator can be shut down, preventing sit-ins. There is an emergency stairwell from the President's floor, but it leads directly to the outdoors; that, too, is reinforced.

    Most of the buildings on the campus are in a brutalist or 1970s institutional style. The Ellicott Complex, a massive dorm modeled after Moshe Safdie's Habitat in Montreal, was intended to house many distinct residential colleges, in a failed scheme to emulate Oxford and Cambridge - they made the layout of this massive building deliberately confusing to create a sense of coziness.



    UB was planned to have an eventual student capacity of 50,000. However, the baby boom came to a bust, and today the school only has about 20,000 students.

    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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          Downtown's avatar
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    The largest poured concrete structure in North America - SUNY Albany. And it was difficult finding photos - the school's website doesn't have very many of the campus on it.


    edited for image leeching
    Last edited by Downtown; 07 Mar 2005 at 10:14 AM.

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    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I usually think of beautiful campuses first, like Princeton, UVA or the natural settings of University of Wisconsin-Madison or Berkeley.

    MIT's got some ugly tech buildings (especially compared to Harvard), but has some cool modern ones and a few neo-classical ones as well. UMass Amherest has ugly, brutal buildings. That's all I can think of. I love universities in general, so I usually think of positives.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    Valparaiso University - Valparaiso, Indiana
    For a second there... I thought you meant This University


    Now, for the horrible campus nominations.
    My own: (San Joaquin campus, Universidad Catolica de Chile) Boring and repetitive architecture, of concrete box buildings with a a few glass walls and little wood. The chapel looks like a design taken from LeCorbusier. Looong walking distances, and weird street layout. There are a few small gardens, but are mostly grass without any shade from trees, and the trees that there are, don't give much shade, Also, there are very little flowers and things that break the monotony. There are some water fountains, that are rarely mantained, so you actually wonder if they're expecting the algae there to evolve into stalking creatures that spook the students to clean them. It also has quite a suburban feel... (mainly because it's in the inner city suburbs, and it takes at least 15 mins on the subway to get to downtown)

    Pelluco campus (Universidad Austral): Ok... this is a campus that the university of valdivia (Universidad Austral) has in a nearby suburb of Puerto Montt. Let's say that it's the most unmantained campus of the university. It's basically a few buildings in a lot with parts of grass, ar from anything, and with serious lacks of infrastructure, terrible location... I could go on, but let's say that if my campus sounded somewhat bad... this is horrible.

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    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    University of South FLorida; '70's concrete buildings; not walkable in any sense of the word; and where are the trees?

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    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Drexel in Phila. is pretty ugly to me. Driving west on Market Street, I can't tell where it begins and where it ends.

    I hate to say that Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln is kinda ugly.

    I wasn't all that impressed with UVA. The Mrs. went there for undergrad.

    I like campuses where vehicular traffic is limited to bikes, campus buses and service vehicles such as KU and Penn.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
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    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by the north omaha star
    Drexel in Phila. is pretty ugly to me.
    Philly has Temple, too. It's no charmer...


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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Waiting to see what The One is going to say about UNC (if anything) I will have to take some pictures of our "two-faced" alma mater.

    The old campus is beautiful, but the west side of the campus has the communist/Moscow block conrete architecture.

    I need to take some pics sometime to display them
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

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    Cyburbian thestip's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    My two nominations:

    Valparaiso University - Valparaiso, Indiana

    University at Buffalo North Campus - Amherst, New York ]
    I have to second both of these. First, my aunt lives about two miles from Valpo U. and even though I have never drove around campus, what I have seen of it from the highway in front is horrible. Secondly, UB, well I really don't have the time or space to write the disertation I could on this place, but suffice it to say, UB's North Campus is a large reason why I went to Buffalo State instead, and I'm dreading having to go there for my Masters. But I will anyways if I want to stay in Buffalo...
    'Planning Rockstar in training';-)

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Try...

    How about Brown University for a stinker campus.....and dirty too......
    Also- Georgia State University in Atlanta
    Small College campus- Western State College in Gunnison Colorado or Fort Lewis College in Durango are or at least were....nasty ugly
    Other honorable mentions: George Washington U. in DC, UT El Paso

    Nice Campus Schools:
    University of Calgary- Landscaping was great, lots of Japanese type Gardens
    College of William and Mary- Just a great historic location and old buildings are cool
    Princeton of course
    San Diego State Looked OK

    Coolest/Wackiest Architecture- Lethbridge University, Alberta Canada

    Most boring campus- University of North Dakota

    Anyone ever seen the University of Chicago campus? Is it nice?
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

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    Member Groovy Iguana's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    How about Brown University for a stinker campus.....and dirty too......
    I don't think the Brown University campus is ugly at all! Hmm...

    As for most beautiful, I'd have to vote for Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. It's gorgeous.

  12. #12
    maudit anglais
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    The University of Waterloo, and York University get my votes for ugliest Canadian Campuses (Campii?)

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Not necessarily ugly or beautiful, just there -
    UCD - University of Colorado at Denver

    Nice Campus -
    The Old Main Quad at Utah State. (bias)
    Ditto The One's listing William and Mary.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    ugly

    Kent State where I went to school has an ugly side (around the student center and library) and a really nice side (old campus built in the '30s and before).
    ot: A really beautiful main campus is Alleghney College in Meadeville PA.
    Last edited by Tom R; 04 Mar 2005 at 4:32 PM. Reason: typos
    WALSTIB

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    ugly-
    GW in DC
    SUNY Stoneybrook

    Pretty
    UNC (old campus)
    Va Tech
    UNC Greensboro-Im an alum I am biased as heck but Ill try to post photos this weekend

    Guilford College is also very nice
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

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    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN
    Waiting to see what The One is going to say about UNC (if anything) I will have to take some pictures of our "two-faced" alma mater.

    The old campus is beautiful, but the west side of the campus has the communist/Moscow block conrete architecture.

    I need to take some pics sometime to display them
    KU has one building like that, Wescoe Hall. Wescoe Hall is a 2 or 3-story (I can't remember.) mass of concrete. It also has Wescoe Beach is another massive slab of concrete in front of it on Jayhawk Blvd. Wescoe Beach is the main gathering spot for students. Ahhh.....the memories of ditching Arch. History 101 class and just hangin' out with your friends on Wescoe Beach. Can any of the Kansas Cyburbanites co-sign on this? Or did you guys go to K-State? I'm think, I'm going to build a time machine and go back to Spring '93 and '94.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  17. #17
    Ugliest: Worcester Polytech
    Favorite: Dartmouth tied with Cornell

    Embarrased to say I've never been to Valpo, Indiana
    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    How true that is....

    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN
    Waiting to see what The One is going to say about UNC (if anything) I will have to take some pictures of our "two-faced" alma mater.

    The old campus is beautiful, but the west side of the campus has the communist/Moscow block conrete architecture.

    I need to take some pics sometime to display them
    True story:

    Had I not obtained a dorm room on the old campus my first year at UNC (Colorado), I would have gone elsewhere That's how much I didn't like the newer concrete block side of the campus....... Having said that, UNC's campus is average 1/2 nice 1/2 not so nice......

    Univ. of Colorado at Denver (Auraria Campus) is another above average City campus, mainly because Denver is so much more clean than the old world cities of the east coast The addition of the Tivoli building really added to the campus
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    I don't know when the last time you were on the UNL campus but they have put around $30 million into it in the past 3-5 years. They tore down a few of the old ugly buildings and opened up areas for green space and walking areas. It is still not the most beautiful campus, but I've seen worse.

    University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne, yuck
    Iowa State, not terrible but needs help
    Alabama A&M, not much going for it

    Quote Originally posted by The One
    How about Brown University for a stinker campus.....and dirty too......
    Also- Georgia State University in Atlanta
    Small College campus- Western State College in Gunnison Colorado or Fort Lewis College in Durango are or at least were....nasty ugly
    Other honorable mentions: George Washington U. in DC, UT El Paso

    Nice Campus Schools:
    University of Calgary- Landscaping was great, lots of Japanese type Gardens
    College of William and Mary- Just a great historic location and old buildings are cool
    Princeton of course
    San Diego State Looked OK

    Coolest/Wackiest Architecture- Lethbridge University, Alberta Canada

    Most boring campus- University of North Dakota

    Anyone ever seen the University of Chicago campus? Is it nice?
    I went to the University of North Dakota and I happen to think compared to most schools of its size UND is a beautiful school. Its in its own part of town, lots of great architecture, lots of open space, and two of the best sports facilities in the country.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 31 Jul 2006 at 3:14 PM.

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    You don't say.....

    Quote Originally posted by Planner22
    I went to the University of North Dakota and I happen to think compared to most schools of its size UND is a beautiful school. Its in its own part of town, lots of great architecture, lots of open space, and two of the best sports facilities in the country.
    I'm sorry, but I don't respond well to HUSKER fans!!!

    Just messing with you a bit

    Yeah, its been a while since my visit.....Don't get me wrong, I'm one of those odd people that like North Dakota and happen to think its a wonderful place to raise a family.......snicker........ha ha ha........(just messing around some more.....it is a Friday.....)
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Groovy Iguana
    As for most beautiful, I'd have to vote for Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. It's gorgeous.
    I spent my first 3 years of college at MHC and agree, it's an absolutely beautiful campus.

    Too bad the downtown burned down years ago. It was pretty scenic, too.

  22. #22
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Only been there once, visiting a friend back when I was in college, but I remember UCF being pretty blah....

    http://campusmap.ucf.edu/flash/index.php
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    UB Swampherst campus hands down. For a while there they didn't even have a commons, but now they do on what used to be a grassy part swamp area .

    I forgot how bad Albany's was as well. NYS sure knows how to build universities
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


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  24. #24

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    The University of Illinois-Chicago, my planning school alma mater, has to go down as one of the ugliest campuses in the nation. It's full of '60s Modernist concrete slabs that make the place feel cold even when it's 90 degrees outside.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Three out of four SUNY universities have been mentioned, so I'll add mine, Binghamton University. Its entirely post war, mostly built in the '50s and '60s so it is off course ugly. The prize for ugliest building would have to go, hands down, to the engineering building, in all its concrete glory. I'll try to post a picture this weekend.

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