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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Campus architecture expands on classic styles

    A glass walkway links the old Meinel Optical Sciences building to its new award-winning addition. The department of optical sciences has expanded to three buildings of contrasting design, the newest of which opened this year.
    A glass walkway links the old Meinel Optical Sciences building to its new award-winning addition. The department of optical sciences has expanded to three buildings of contrasting design, the newest of which opened this year.

    The UA campus is filled with diverse pieces of architecture inspired by examples found across 2,500 years of world history, resulting in nationally recognized, award-winning buildings.

    David Soren, a regents’ professor in art and classics, said during the 1920s and 1930s, America was trying to envision itself as the new Greece or Rome, hence the ancient-style buildings.

    “”In that day, this style of architecture was very popular among our centers for higher learning,”” said Soren, who frequently “”marches students out”” to show them Greek architecture on campus.

    Herring Hall, Cochise Residence Hall and the Engineering building are examples of architecture that were taken from forms dating to 450 B.C. Greece, Soren said.

    Alexandra Gehrke, a physiology sophomore, said she likes the Engineering building because of the Doric style of columns that are used.

    “”The campus reminds me of the East Coast,”” Gehrke said. “”It is why I originally chose to come here.””

    However, while some campus buildings have ancient roots, others show a modern flair.

    Joel Valdez, senior vice president of business affairs, said the farther a building gets from Old Main, the more modern it becomes.

    The process of selecting and building new structures on campus is extensive, Valdez said.

    “”We have to consider who is using it, where on the campus it will be located and how it will contribute to the UA campus,”” Valdez said.

    Once it is decided a new building is necessary, Valdez said administrators put together a packet that is sent to Facilities Design and Construction.

    Peter Dourlein, associate director of Facilities Design and Construction, said his staff has to consider several things before designing, such as who is using the building, why they need it, what buildings surround it and where the project is located.

    The university works with local and national design firms to come up with ideas for new projects, Dourlein said.

    All projects are submitted to the Planning and Design Review Advisory Committee, which consists of both on- and off-campus members of the community.

    “”They are designers, architects and alumni that donate their time to give advice on the design of new buildings,”” said Valdez.

    The end result is a campus with an array of buildings, including buildings that have won national awards.

    The Meinel Optical Sciences building expansion won two awards this year from the International Interior Design Association Southwest chapter: the “”design excellence award in the institutional/educational category”” and “”best in show”” for all categories including institutional/educational, resort, health care, restaurant and commercial, according to the Facilities Design and Construction Web site.

    “”Architecture in itself is an art,”” Valdez said.

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