Columbia University's Ugly Modern Architecture

Columbia has some ugly modern architecture amid its fine pre-war buildings and decent neo-traditional contemporary ones. The building on the right is the School of International Affairs (certainly reminds us of the Soviet Union!), and the one on the left is East Campus, a huge undergraduate dormitory whose orginal exterior tiles peeled off and had to be replaced only a few years after it was built.

Ada Louise Huxtable, architecture critic of The New York Times, had this to say about East Campus when it was built:

"Consider a building that has to be vandal-proof, constructed of maintenance-free materials with every surface resistant to neglect and abuse, where violation of design and function must be an anticipated fact, along with defacement and petty thievery -- a place where surveillance is a necessity and population is transient. A description of a minimum security prison? Not at all. This is a dormitory for Columbia University... it is easy to see how an austerely simple aesthetic can be brought down to this dispiriting level..." (Architecture, Anyone? p.236)

But surely Ivy-League undergraduates are not such savages as to require the architectural standards of a minimum-security prison? Or are they? Hmm...

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