Tag Archives: uic

In which I like brutalism

The campus of UW features a few buildings in the brutalist style; these hunker uneasily between the older buildings and are complained about by everyone, though they have some hesitant defenders. Last week I gave a number theory seminar at UIC, a campus built from scratch in the late 1960s, at the height of the vogue for concrete. Huge rectilinear concrete towers set into vast concrete plazas, not an acute angle or a brick or a natural landscape contour in sight. What’s more, I was there on a freezing cold day with overcast skies and a kind of punchy, angular snow which might have actually been extremely small hail. And you know what? It looked terrific. I take back the bad things I’ve said about this style — when your whole field of view is made out of brutalism, it ends up, if you can believe this, kind of nice. It’s like being inside a futuristic diorama. (Pictured: Walter Netsch, designer of UIC.)

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