It has taken a long time, but some communities are recognizing that Brutalist buildings are not worth renovating and should be demolished. The latest example of a brutalist structure slated to be put out of its misery is the Humanities Building at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, which was completed in 1969. In the University's 2005 Campus Master Plan, administrators decided to tear the building down, along with other similar campus eyesores.
According to the UW student newspaper:
Upon its completion, the Humanities Building was described as a testament to the “brutalist” style of architecture, a style made famous in America from the 1950s to the 1970s, but one that had flourished throughout Europe prior to that.If this trend catches on, we may soon see the complete destruction of the entire York University campus. It's a start.
But this unique architectural design of the building is the main problem that most students have with its construction. Chances are that if one has attended UW-Madison for more than one semester, one has had a class in Humanities, whether it was a lecture or discussion. There is also a chance, if not an absolute certainty, that one got lost along the winding corridors of the confusing, irrational building layout. I cannot fathom just how many times I have had no idea where my class is, only to stumble around Pan’s Labyrinth for twenty minutes in a desperate effort to find a buried hobbit-hole of a room on the other side of the building.
A shoddy layout isn’t the only failure here. With its poor ventilation, narrow windows, inclined base, and cantilevered upper floors, you might suspect you were in a bomb shelter. The building is simply not designed well for an environment conductive to learning.
In 2005, UW-Madison released its “Campus Master Plan,” which, among other things, called for the destruction the Humanities building and other 60’s-era buildings to make way for more updated learning venues. Students should be thrilled by this idea, as we are paying top dollar for what are supposed to be top-of-the-line facilities but, as evidenced by this architectural failure, we are not getting what we are paying for.
(HT: Ann Althouse)