University of Minnesota campus listed among nation's 'ugliest'

Lauren Williams's picture
Friday, November 1, 2013

Never mind that famed St. Paul architect Cass Gilbert designed the University of Minnesota's Northrop Mall. Travel and Leisure magazine has put the U's campus on an online list of "America's Ugliest College Campuses."

The magazine said it "consulted the Princeton Review, Unigo.com, and other forums where students hotly debate all aspects of campus life" to come up with the 15-campus listing, which is arranged in no particular order.

Of the U's main campus in Minneapolis, the entry said: "Many great architects including Steven Holl and Frank Gehry have tried their hand at turning the commuter campus of the University of Minnesota from Brutalist to Pritzker Prize-worthy. It's no small feat. Take, for example, the Coffman Memorial Building: the only feature that could make it look more industrial would be the addition of smokestacks."

Holl designed the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture's 2002 expansion and building. Gehry designed the 1993 Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum. The Pritzker Prize refers to a prestigious international architecture award. The Coffman Memorial Union, designed in the art deco/art moderne style, opened in 1940 and sits at the south end of the Gilbert-designed Northrop Mall.

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