Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Facade Gone Wrong

 I have driven past the Beta Theta Pi house since 2003.  Last summer, I noted construction.  This is the result. My take on it was the apparent over-riding desire to have everything on campus look Greek.  Almost without fail, the majority of the houses on campus have columns, and the requisite other artifacts that seem to imply Ole Miss Lyceum style.

Once I saw the actual results (pictured above) I kept asking myself "What were they thinking? The original building from 1964 is seen here.
 The rear of the house still evidences the style of the original building.  Note the roofline, the angled windows, and the large glass sections that were smaller scales of the front as originally built.

It seems to me that the new entrance is totally incongruent with the rest of the building.  While those smaller windows and lower profile seemed fitting with the original sharply angled roofline and large expanses of glass to help balance them, this juxtaposition just seems wrong.  Like the discussion at lunch today of "vegan jumbalaya," it just does not make sense.

Even more disturbing, this remodel was done by Howorth & Associates, who have earned kudos in my book for restoring buildings to their original intentions.  This is also billed as the "first of a multi-phase remodeling."  Perhaps Malvaney is correct in the assessment of the future of the campus.

What I do note every evening as I drive past this building on the way home is my feelings about how a once really unique building on the campus now just looks like a copy of all the other buildings with no personality of its own.  I miss the other building.


NMissC said...

I really wish for a handy picture of the front of the building, before, for contrast. I have a distant recollection about the original architect and wonder if I'm right. Who was it?

In any event, I wonder sometimes if the folks making decisions about all these facades realize they are building awful parodies of the lyceum building.

Then there's the fact that the historic buildings other than the lyceum but from not that far apart in time (the observatory, the Y, Ventress, or lost but 19th C buildings still within living memory like the old journalism building and the dead house) each have their own personality. Too bad we lost that as a goal.

Gee, maybe we should change the frontages of all the buildings downtown so they look like the courthouse.

Suzassippi said...

There's a link at the top of the post just above the picture of the historic marker that shows the house as it was originally built. I do not know the architect of the original, but I imagine she or he must be in a state of disbelief.

ELMalvaney said...

Somehow missed this post when it appeared. I guess I should be thankful I missed it. Ugh! That's my official opinion on the new entrance porch. Not articulate perhaps, but I think it gets the point across.

Suzassippi said...

Perfect sentiment. Unless they plan to build a new building behind this entrance, I can't figure out what they were thinking. In the end, they'll still have a building that looks like a poor replica when it was originally a striking and unique building.