Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Science Hall and the George L. Mosse Humanities Building -- what's in a name?

Science Hall and the Humanities Building -- What's in a Name?
Two buildings on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus: The brutalist design of the building in the foreground speaks such things as impersonal abstraction, geometry, concrete and technology (that grid of dots on the panels in the middle of the photo almost seems to resemble nuclear reactor control rods inserted into the concrete). You'd think this would be the building housing the sciences, but no, it's the 1960s-era George L. Mosse Humanities Building. And while the red-brick Victorian fantasy castle in the background would seem to be a better natural fit with the humanities, that's actually Science Hall, completed in 1887. (The sprawling, romantic exterior does conceal an example of advanced technology for its time -- a steel skeleton. Essentially, it's a mini-skyscraper. Today, it's the oldest existing building in the world to use structural steel in significant amounts.)

1 comment:

Citizen Reader said...

Very different, but two of my very favorite buildings on campus. I love the other side of the Humanities from where this photo was taken, with the soaring columns and the simplicity of the concrete. Makes me feel like I should be wearing a toga or drinking hemlock or something.

I didn't know that about Science Hall (re: steel). Thanks for the info!