24 More Cool College Landmarks
Back in February 2008 (posted again in January 2009), we brought you a list of 10 cool college landmarks, ranging from MIT's relatively new Stata Center to the 130-year-old Nott Memorial at Union College. Today, we're bringing you 24 more, recommended by mental_floss readers.
1. Cathedral of Learning
The University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning holds the title of tallest educational building in the Western hemisphere. The massive building houses theaters, labs, classrooms, offices, a food court, and a three-story “Commons Room.” Twenty-seven of the classrooms are “nationality rooms,” which were designed by members of the community to reflect the styles of 27 nations and ethnic groups. (Eight more rooms are in the works.) Construction of the building was funded in part by 97,000 of the city's schoolchildren, who were encouraged to “Buy a Brick for Pitt” at 10 cents a brick.
2. Heinz Memorial Chapel
Also located at the University of Pittsburgh and designed by Charles Klauder is the Heinz Memorial Chapel, a Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation Historic Landmark. The chapel was constructed in the 1930s by the Heinz family (of ketchup fame) as a memorial to the family matriarch, Anna Margaretta. On the church's gables are shields in which the insignia of Europe's twelve oldest universities are carved. There are also carvings of the pre-1820 U.S. colleges and universities on the balustrade parapets, post-1820 U.S. colleges and universities on the spandrels, and the seals of women's colleges on the buttresses. For the first student service held on November 23, 1938, all the seats were filled and several hundred students had to be turned away.
3. Geisel Library
Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego is named for the Geisels, Dr. Seuss and his wife Audrey. Architect William Pereira designed the building to be spherical, with the structural elements on the inside, but when it was decided the structural elements took up too much space, they were moved to the outside. The 40-year-old building is such a UCSD landmark that it is incorporated into the school's logo.
4. Peale House
Often referred to as the Peale House, the Belfield Estate at La Salle University was home to the painter Charles Willson Peale from 1810 to 1821. The 325-year history of the estate—a National Historic Landmark—includes the discovery of a 300-million-year-old fossil, connections to the Underground Railroad, and a utopian community. The estate was once visited by Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom's Cabin) and Julia Ward Howe (author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”). Since 1984, Belfield has housed the office of La Salle's president.
5. Touchdown Jesus
At the University of Notre Dame, the “Word of Life” mural by Millard Sheets is better known as “touchdown Jesus.” Sheets was commissioned to create a mural depicting “saints and scholars throughout the ages” to grace the southern face of Hesburgh Library. The Cold Spring Granite Company turned Sheets' resulting painting into a 324-panel mural comprised of 6,700 separate pieces of granite from 16 different countries. At the top of the mural is a depiction of Christ the Teacher with arms outstretched. Seen looming over the stadium, though, the mural's Jesus is more reminiscent of a referee signaling a touchdown.
6. Weisman Art Museum
The University of Minnesota's Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum resides at the Twin Cities campus in a Frank Gehry-designed building on the Mississippi River. Viewed from the campus, the museum blends in with the school's other brick and sandstone buildings. From the river and the Washington Avenue Bridge, the museum is a shimmering array of steel shapes, an “abstraction of a waterfall and a fish.”
7. Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury
Westminster College was only founded in 1851, but its church, the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, traces all the way back to 1181. Originally located in London, the church was built in 1181, destroyed by fire in 1666, rebuilt in 1677, and destroyed again in 1941, after which only the walls were left. In 1964, the walls' stones were brought to Fulton, Missouri, where the church was rebuilt on the grounds of Westminster College. The church serves as a memorial to Winston Churchill, who delivered his “Sinews of Peace” (also known as his “Iron Curtain”) speech at Westminster College in 1946.
8. The Red Gym
At the University of Wisconsin, the Office of Admissions, Visitors Center, and various student services are housed in a 19th-century armory. The castle-like building was constructed to serve as both a gymnasium and a local armory. The “Red Gym,” as it's known, contained military offices and a drill hall, as well as bowling alleys and a swimming tank. Its assembly hall has hosted speeches by William McKinley (1894) and Upton Sinclair (1922), among others, as well as two Republican state conventions.
9. Ponce de León Hotel
The landmark building of Flagler College is the former Ponce de León Hotel, built in 1885. Louis Comfort Tiffany contributed to the building's interior elements, while murals were painted by George W. Maynard and Virgilio Tojetti. The building's twin towers provided the running water, with each holding 8,000 gallons. The hotel was one of the first buildings in the country to have electricity. The Coast Guard commandeered the hotel during World War II and used it as a training center; one of the towers served as a brig. In 1964, the hotel was the site of St. Augustine's first mass sit-in of the civil rights movement.
10. Usen Castle
Sophomores at Brandeis University have the opportunity to live in Usen Castle, parts of which replicate aspects in Windsor Castle. The castle—which stands on Boston Rock, the highest point west of the city—was built in 1928 when Middlesex University occupied the property. Since then, the castle has been renovated more than once, resulting in stairwells and hallways that go to nowhere and a collection of dorm rooms of which no two are alike. It's home to Cholmondeley's (or Chum's), which was supposedly the inspiration for Central Perk on Friends (the creators of the show are Brandeis alumni).
11-21. Child of the Sun
Florida Southern College boasts 12 Frank Lloyd Wright buildings on its campus. The “Child of the Sun” collection is one of the largest Frank Lloyd Wright collections. All twelve—built between 1941 and 1958—are on the National Register of Historic Places. The collection includes Annie Pfeiffer Chapel (shown at left), the Seminars (originally three separate buildings, now united as one), the Buckner Building, the Ordway Building, Danforth Chapel, the Polk County Science Building, the Watson/Fine Building, the Water Dome, and the Esplanades. The first five buildings—Pfeiffer Chapel, the Seminars, and Buckner (originally Roux Library)—were all constructed with student labor; Watson/Fine was the first to be built by a professional construction firm.
To see photos of the rest of the buildings, check out FSC's photo gallery of the collection.
22. Tampa Bay Hotel (Henry B. Plant Museum)
On the campus of the University of Tampa is the Tampa Bay Hotel, a Moorish revival building from the late 1800s. Now a U.S. National Historic Landmark, the building contains Florida's first, and oldest continuously operating, elevator. It's accented with six minarets, four cupolas, and three domes, all in stainless steel. The building sat empty for three years following the hotel's closing in 1930, until the Tampa Bay Junior College moved in, eventually growing into the University of Tampa.
23. Sharp Centre for Design
The Sharp Centre for Design at Ontario College of Art & Design University is a two-story box, sitting on columns, that hovers over some of the college's older buildings. Definitely the most exciting building on the block, it has been described as “courageous, bold and just a little insane.” The building, which was architect Will Alsop's first building in North America, earned Alsop a 2004 RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Worldwide Award.
24. Robarts Library
The University of Toronto is home to the John P. Robarts Research Library, the school's largest library. Nicknamed “Fort Book,” the building is an important example of brutalist architecture (as is Geisel Library). Triangles play a very big role: it has an equilateral triangular footprint, uses triangular patterns throughout, and is one point in a three-tower complex. In the beginning, the library used a mechanical book conveyor belt to enable the library staff to collect and distribute books more quickly. The secret library in Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose was most likely modeled after Robarts; much of the novel was written at the university and the stairwells have striking similarities.