Saturday, March 14, 2009

beautiful ugly

The Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago. On my own list of the top five most beautiful ugly buildings in the world, it's number 3. It's a Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill building, completed in 1970. It stands on the former grounds of the great Stagg Field. (Think about that as a symbol of a university: Hutchins got rid of the football team in 1931 or something like that. Big controversial move. So build a library on the site--just to press the symbolic shift to academics--by 1935. Goodness knows, there were New Deal stimulus dollars around to do so, and Hutchins was a good fund-raiser. No**, get rid to the football program and then take 40 years to build on top of it.)

** Of course there are probably 100 stories about why this makes sense. And wasn't it under the stadium that the A-bomb research was first done?