POINT: UCSD’s Campus Is Poorly
Designed and Hard to Use
Let’s be real. UC San Diego is unnavigable, and we all know it. We’ve all read our course schedule and lamented the new building codes so hot off the presses they don’t even show up on the maps. We’ve all found new places to trample over in feeble attempts to cross campus in ten minutes — all to fit the fancy of the registrar’s favorite new buildings — just so we can witness our student loans squandered in real time.
Frankly, the only thing more brutal than traversing this campus is the uninspired architecture of the buildings. It’s a miracle we haven’t disrupted the rebar and linoleum industries seeing how we’re funding new buildings like they’re the cure for cancer. What are we? The Guggenheim School of Drab Right Angles? It’s no wonder we’re called UC Socially Dead when every open space sucks the heat out of your lungs, the color from your vision, or the money from your wallet. This campus is little more than two running V forms of ideas spackled over a canvas of cold concrete, and that’s before you even think about getting somewhere with a mobility aid. Whose idea even was this? Was it even anyone’s idea? Or just an imposition of our ever-rising concrete walls, constraining even our creative vision?
Just because our architecture is monolithic doesn’t mean we need to keep building like it’s the Paleolithic. Let’s see if we can raise our falling stars and falling standards, and build something with actual spaces and actual throughways. Let us move on from this brutal past to greener, post-structural pastures.
COUNTERPOINT: The Only Thing That’s Hard Is All This Concrete
Looks like someone needs to take a Beautiful Radiant Chill Pill, ’cause all this concrete isn’t chilling you out enough. Some of us like the cool, death-like embrace of man-made stone. We’re not all architectural auteurs. Sorry they didn’t approve your Chateau Andalou, Salvador. Look at it this way: with expenses ramping up, UCSD planners have their backs against the wall, and what a sheer wall it is! Who’s to say that the chastening effect of the concrete’s cold embrace isn’t an upside? Who are you to decide that there isn’t artistry in the brutal?
You dismiss the beauty in these buildings at a glance; you don’t know their geometry, their spaces, the way their interiors guide you with a gentle hand to the completion of your degree. You think you know architecture because you read a book or two, but you’ll never know these buildings like I do. Beyond that, why do you get to write off artistic pieces as the be-all, end-all arbiter of what does and does not have merit? Bud, I think you stand to carry-a-tid more respect for READ/WRITE/THINK/DREAM, quite frankly. And at the end of the day, who among us can truthfully say they haven’t found comfort in the grip of Le Corbusier?
Just because these buildings are without finish doesn’t mean I’m not happy to finish in them when I get back to the comfort of my dorm. Get off that high horse and get in this high-ceilinged atrium. Quit it with the tough talk and enjoy the experience of fathomless tons of concrete. Before you question the rebar-reinforced grip brutalism has on the rest of us, how about you let its austere heel teach you a thing or two about the beauty to be held in function-first design.