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Photo courtesy of me! If you saw me taking these photos on 9/14/16, comment below!

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 visionaryย architect Walter A. Netsch, pictured below.

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Photo courtesy of me! No, that’s not Buddy Holly. I know, I wish it was too…

 

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 exactlyย 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.

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Photo courtesy of me! Almost lined up…

Have a Scien-tastic day!

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4 thoughts on “UIC Is Brutal And Beautiful.

  1. Great photo comparison of then and now. My lab partner and I were looking at a bunch of photos just this evening(10/27/16). We were amazed at how UIC used to look like. I never knew UIC followed a brutalist design,

    As we walked through the campus, especially under SEL, we made note of the elevated walkway and how it connected all throughout the lecture halls, douglas hall(i think), and up until the north most building, BSB. I tried looking on youtube of anyone capturing the elevated walkways on video but found no luck. The best I found was through the catalog put off in the corner near Argo Tea and the microwave in the floor of SCE. Funny how inner circle is a bit reminiscent of the quad when it was called UIC Circle. Ever since reading all about UIC’s design, what was here and there, and what remains, kinda made me appreciate the campus as a whole. I don’t think its ugly as I once thought it was … honest truth, haha. I just don’t think the typical UIC student wouldn’t know much about UIC’s architectural history to leave much room for appreciation.

    I really wish that elevated walkway was still here though. I’d like to hang out on top of LCB.

    Anyways, before this becomes an essay, thank you for the photo comparisons.

    Like

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