Thursday, June 10, 2004

Drove through downtown State College for lunch today. They were demolishing the old Schlow Library building on Beaver Avenue. Kind of surreal - it's not the sort of thing I associate with small central Pennsylvania towns. This huge pile of rubble almost a story tall, with a bulldozer sitting on top of the rubble. half the top floor of the building right next to it was torn off - I couldn't tell if they were demolishing that building as well, or it was just secondary damage from the demolition. I can't imagine that it's that difficult to destroy a two-story building, so maybe they're just peeling the next building - rip off a story, process, rip off another story, continue until you're down to foundations.

State College and University Park are changing so fast, that I can hardly recognize the places they used to be. Beaver Canyon grows like a sluggish cancer; there are towering brick buildings all over what was once a rather bucolic east campus. Oh, well. At least the new graduate housing is an aesthetic improvement on the old shacks they've replaced - it looks more like West Halls than East Halls. Thank God concrete and rebar has gone out of style. Some folk may despise institutional-red-brick, but I don't mind it that much. There's something terrible and alienating about the yellow brickwork that dominates the centre of campus - it's got a certain empty, inhuman feel. Yellowbrick is supposed to blend in well with the neo-Federal style in which those buildings were built, but the yellow-on-white feels like, I don't know - a boneyard. Redbrick, no matter how cliche and pedestrian, still does something for me - brings a earth-tone warmth that makes an environment feel more human.

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