The Ann Arbor Observer asked local architects to evaluate some of The University of Michigan’s newest buildings.  Specifically, architects reacted to the following buildings:

  • Michigan Stadium
  • 202 South Thayer Street
  • Biomedical Science Research Building
  • Weill Hall
  • North Quad
  • University of Michigan Museum of Art
  • Mott Hospital

Not surprisingly, at least to my small circle of architects, most of these buildings received harsh criticism.  I’ll save a complete review of each of these buildings plus some interior design tips for tiny spaces for a later date, but read on to see some of my favorite quotes about these buildings.

Michigan Stadium

We briefly mentioned this project in a previous article, and I personally wrote a two page essay on the failures of this monstrous addition, but I can’t compare to some of the things that were said.

“appalling pseudo-Colosseum archways on Main Street.  You half expect Christians to be fed to the lions during halftime.” – Carl Luckenbach

“They’re making it look more like Ohio State stadium, which can’t be their intention–Can it?” -Robert Beckley

Brutal and right on.

202 South Thayer Street

Located at the north end of main campus, near the bell tower, this building sit right next to the Corner House Lofts.  Most of the architects abhor not only this building, but also the Corner House Lofts.

Roy Strickland offers the kindest(?) comment:

“It’s a good corner building. When North Quad is finished across the street, it’s going to move from a foreground to a background building.”

Biomedical Science Research Building

The BSRB, as it has come to be known as, is quite possibly the best building the University has ever built.  This sophisticated building responds to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic patterns and garnered only praise.  It is worth the drive to Ann Arbor just to see this building and experience that atrium space from both inside and out and admire the “Pringle.”

Weill Hall

Located at the intersection of State & Hill, this building is/was to serve as the south gateway to Central Campus.  It’s monumental size does little to invite visitors.

North Quad

Critics compared the North Quad to Weill Hall, only done better.  The scale, proportion, and detailing relate much better to the surroundings will nicely terminate the northern edge of the academic campus.

University of Michigan Museum of Art

The UMMA has the critics excited.  The “radical” building is “going to challenge people with a new experience of architecture.” These are some seriously big shoes to fill and we’ll get a chance to see for ourselves on March 28th when the UMMA reopens to the public.

Mott Hospital

Mott Hospital, located adjacent to the Nicols Arboretum, is financially and physically the biggest building the University has ever built.  It is large and generally uninspiring to anyone not visting the medical campus.

“Mott looks like half a billion dollars of generic hospital.” -Carl Luckenbach

The article was published in the January 2009 issue.  I tried to find an online version, but they appear to not publish all articles.

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