All posts by Hayley Olsen

The OU Physical Sciences Center


The University of Oklahoma Physical Sciences Center is a building that has greatly impacted my undergraduate career. I am a biochemistry major so I have taken a wide variety of classes in this building. Although the history behind this building is very interesting, this building is not fun to take classes in. The building was constructed in case of student uprisings and therefore when you are inside you feel stuck inside with no contact to the outside. All of my classes in this building have had no windows, and natural lighting is something that I think is so important. It is hard to sit through a lecture when you are stuck in a tiny room or even a giant lecture hall with no windows. This class has really made me realize how much is missing from the Physical Sciences Center to make it a building that can help its students be more productive and successful. I wish this building had some of the elements that have been included in some of the newer buildings on campus, like simply having some windows in its lecture halls. This building is also one of the taller buildings on campus, but it is not very pleasing to the eye. It can be seen from the other side of campus,  and I wish it was a better representation of what the OU architecture is really like.

Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center


The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center was designed by Renzo Piano, and is located in New Caledonia, which is east of Australia. This area has a lot of influence from the indigenous culture known as Kanak culture. Piano blended this Kanak culture along with modern architecture elements to create this Cultural Center. Along with the building there are ten large conical pavilions. These pavilions were modeled after the traditional Kanak huts. What I found most interesting about this building is the materials that were used to construct it. Most of the timber used was imported from Africa, and some parts were constructed from coral, tree bark, aluminum, and stainless steel. What I have loved about researching Renzo Piano is that he designs such a wide variety of buildings all around the world. All of his buildings are extremely unique.


NEMO Science Center

NEMORenzo Piano designed the NEMO Science Center located in Amsterdam. This building is one of the most unique buildings I have ever seen. It is a giant copper-green shape that looks to be arising out of the water. This building is located on top of a tunnel, which proved to be challenging to Renzo, but he took that tunnel as inspiration for the shape of this building. This building looks very out of place to me. There is a roof-terrace (pictured below) that overlooks the city however, and this building seems like a unique place to visit.

NEMO Roof-Terrace

California Academy of Sciences Building


Renzo Piano designed the building in San Francisco, California for the California Academy of Sciences. He designed this building with the Academy’s mission in mind; to explore, explain, and sustain life. This building is located in Golden Gate Park, and has a green Living Roof, which fits in nicely. Renzo Piano found his inspiration in the concept of lifting a piece of the park up and putting a building under it. Because of this, the Living Roof is 2.5 acres and is used in the heating and cooling of the building. The six inches of soil on the roof help to insulate the building and the native plants allow it to be a natural habitat for local birds and butterflies. I have actually been to Golden Gate Park and have walked by this building but I didn’t know who designed it or how much thought went into designing this building. What I love when I saw it from the outside was that there were floor to ceiling windows which would allow you to still fell like you were in the park while you were in the building.94

The Pathé Foundation

Pathe-Foundation-Building-in-Paris-by-Renzo-Piano-Yellowtrace-01The Pathé Foundation building was designed by architect Renzo Piano and is located in Paris, France. The foundation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé is a cinema foundation. This building has a beautiful penthouse office space. This office is beautiful, and I would love to go into work there everyday. The penthouse has great natural lighting because of the building’s glass roof. Besides an office, this building houses old nitrate-films, permanent and temporary collections, and has a 70-seat screening room. The goal of this project was to create a warm and comfy workspace and they did this by using the light timber walls, floors, and shelves. They were able to blend wood and steel in a tasteful way. I really enjoyed the architecture of this building because it was unique and unlike most of the buildings I am used to and have researched.



The Shard


A noteworthy building designed by architect Renzo Piano and located in Southwark, London is called the Shard. This building received its name because they called this building the “shard of glass through the heart of historic London.” The construction of this building began in March 2009 and was completed in November 2012. The Shard is an 72-storey building and is the 4th tallest building in Europe. Renzo Piano found his inspiration in the railway lines next to the site of the building as well as the masts of sailing ships.



The New York Times Building


The New York Times Building is located on the west side of midtown Manhattan, New York City. The architect on this project was Renzo Piano, and he is considered on of the top architects of the 21st century, all over the world. The New York Times Building was completed in 2007. The building is said to be the 7th tallest building in the United States. This building is considered a green building. It is made from 95% recycled steel, has floor to ceiling windows, and an under floor air distribution system. The building also has and automated shading system that is programmed to move based on the position of the sun. A fun fact about this building is that in 2008, 3 people illegally climbed the outside of this building and were arrested.

Flower Mound High School


I attended Flower Mound High School, so this building has a lot of significance in my life. It is where I made some of my lifelong friends, where I discovered what I wanted to study in college, and where I learned so much about myself. I graduated with 776 people so the building that had to hold all of us was fairly large. The layout and design was very modern and all of our classrooms were very technology equipped. The only complaint about my high school was that there were so many students and the hallways didn’t hold enough people during passing periods. We had 10 minutes between classes because with a building that size it takes a while to get from one side to the other, but also because sometimes it would get to a point where you couldn’t even move in the hallway because it was so congested (pictured below).

FMHS Hall     IMG_3708

Gamma Phi Beta

Gamma Phi Beta Sorority

The Gamma Phi Beta Sorority house is a building on OU’s campus that is very important to me. I have been a member of Gamma Phi for over 3 years. Many of my college memories come from this building. From studying in the study hall freshman year, to living in this house sophomore year, and attending many game day lunches on Saturdays for home football games my junior year, I cannot wait to see what my senior year has in store for me this year. The reason that I love this house so much is that as a sophomore I lived in with my best friend. It was a once in a lifetime experience to live with 75 friends, and being fed breakfast, lunch and dinner was pretty great too! This building is really cool because it looks small on the outside because of the way the roof is shaped, but when you walk in, the room right next to the entry way called the “Great Room” is huge. It can hold the entire chapter of over 200 girls, and has extremely tall ceilings which is unexpected when you see the house from the outside. What I love about my sorority house is that it does not look like the typical sorority house. I’m glad that many of my favorite college memories take place in this unique house.

The Bizzell Memorial Library


Although most of my memories in the Bizzell Memorial Library have to do with studying, this building is one of my favorites on campus. This building had a significant impact on me even before I moved to Norman and began attending OU freshman year. When I received my OU acceptance letter in the mail I had never visited campus. The back of an OU acceptance letter says “Your Sooner Experience Starts Now” and had an extremely beautiful picture of the library on it. Being from Texas, I never expected to attended college in Oklahoma, but when I received that letter in the mail I couldn’t help but want to visit campus and see that building in person. I loved the style because it reminded me of a typical, beautiful college campus (which makes sense since we discussed how the style was Gothic which is similar to the campuses like Harvard, and colleges that they show in movies). When I visited OU’s campus I fell in love, and I have been here ever since. The Library is one of my favorite buildings on campus because without it I might not have come to OU.