03 October 2008


During the spring semester, ISU's new behemoth of a building officially opened for business. It was built because ISU had a grant coming that could only be used to build something, and if they didn't build something, they would lose the grant. Now, the sensible thing would have been to acknowledge that ISU didn't actually need a new building, but apparently This Is Not Done. So we have a rather schizophrenically purposed thing taking up space where a lovely grassy area once was. The little remaining grass is apparently scheduled for future parking lot duty.

While I think its construction was largely pointless, I do like the building's aesthetics. Mostly. It's a nice mix of avant garde lines with modern industrial touches. From a purely aesthetic viewpoint, the public areas are magnificent. Lots of open space and natural light, color (which the physical science building is sadly lacking), and industrial touches (visible support columns; stair railings that look like industry mesh; etc.). I particularly like the feel of the food cour area. It's like you're outside walking between two highrises. Nicely done. From a functional standpoint, however, there are some big problems.

The stairs are my biggest pet peeve. There are two easily accessed staircases that go clear up and down the classroom side of the building. They are, however, open staircases, with the aforementioned mesh. I have a minor fear of heights and absolutely hate going up them. For some odd reason, I don't mind going down them, but going up bothers me. There are alternative staircases. These are not easy to find and were obviously not intended for daily use, as they lack even the slightest hint of the style of the rest of the building, not to mention that they stink. Of what, I'm not sure. Last semester, I thought it was paint, but surely that would have cleared up by now. Final option: there is one, very small, elevator.

The classrooms are my next pet peeve. All of the hallways and public areas are rife with windows and natural light. The classrooms are dank little boxes. Sure, they've got the most modern equipment, and projectors, and so on, but there are no windows in any of the classrooms I've been in. I walked by one that seemed to have a window, but that's an exception. Most of them are on inside walls, where a window would be impossible. The numbering system is also rather haphazard, but no more so than physical science. I haven't made up my mind about the tables most rooms have in place of desks. I see some advantages and some disadvantages, so overall I'm indifferent.

To sum up: the Rendezvous is a pointless building designed primarily for aesthetic appeal, with functionality thrown in as an afterthought.


John said...

Sounds like the campus is all the worse for it then. I'd be pretty upset about the grassy area, if I were a student (or faculty for that matter) there. You'd think they could have found an older building to renovate or something.

Qalmlea said...

Well, they did tear down one set of older buildings, but the Rendezvous is, at a guess, at least six times as big as they were. Maybe ten times as big. The smaller buildings were just on the edge of the grass.