UIC’s got some… let’s call it “unique” architecture that we’ve all enjoyed bashing during our time here. Science and Engineering South looks like an air force base, and all the lecture halls strongly represent a style that looks particularly “Soviet.” Cement, steel, and dark windows comprise our East Campus. And I’m incredibly proud of that.
Our school doesn’t look like anything else on the planet (thankfully). It’s unique, and characteristic of an architectural style called “brutalism” (no lie), championed by the visionary architect Walter A. Netsch, pictured below.
Brutalism means stark, utilitarian designs made from practical materials. This style became popular after WWII, when the generation who came of age during the Great Depression didn’t feel right ushering in a second gilded age; they were far too pragmatic and wanted something functional. Enter the era of low-maintenance, massive-forms of buildings made of poured concrete, and thin, tinted windows that wouldn’t require expensive blinds and curtains.
Of course, we do use blinds and curtains in our classrooms. And the elevated walk way that made our second “circle” campus so famous no longer exists (if you’re feeling sentimental, the rubble was transported to Kenwood,where it forms a lake-land barrier near the Museum of Science and Industry).
That walkway actually included a built-in heating system that worked exactly zero times. The walkway was torn down and discarded in 1993 in favor for a campus that benefited from more sunlight and green space.
It wasn’t long ago that our campus looked like something from a Sci-Fi film, but most of us have no memory what that looked like. I’m hoping these pictures will bring a little of our school’s dynamic history to life.
Have a Scien-tastic day!