Washington University in St Louis Library


I think I will start out with a building that left a negative imprint on me. Many years ago I toured Washington University in St Louis with my family, as my twin brother was considering attending. The walk up to campus is breathtaking, as you go under a massive archway with this incredible gothic structure towering over you. We were told in our first class that gothic architecture tends to be a standard of higher education, and certainly Washington University has held itself to that standard. I was certainly impressed with the grandeur and aura of the campus. However, as the tour went through the center of campus I was surprised to find this ugly, squat thing dominating the middle of an otherwise impressive lawn. The concrete, square, and jarring building clashed horribly with the stately buildings around it. I was reminded of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose buildings often seemed designed to challenge our preconceptions of what a building SHOULD look like. I suppose I am too conservative, for all I could see was the clash of ideas instead of an artistic expression that was merely different from the older, more conservative styles around it.  Regardless, I have always been left with a negative impression of the building.


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