Hillsdale is beautiful. Even when the sky is grey, the ground is mud, and the streets are slush; we are surrounded by stunning, new, Neo-classical architecture seldom associated with college campuses. Even off campus, we have a charming, well-kept downtown with buildings dating back to the 1800’s.
Many other schools have gorgeous architecture, of course. I have a friend at Wellesley and another at Harvard whose dormitories are severely reminiscent of Hogwarts. Even schools like Penn State have several Neo-classical stunners of their own.
But note: pretty much all of these are old buildings.
Most architecture constructed post-WWII focuses primarily on space and cost-efficiency, resulting in the concrete monstrosities that hulk unbecomingly in every city and town. These towns could not afford not to replace the less efficient, but significantly more beautiful, predecessors.
Few cities were spared, and those that were generally suffered a financial inability to replace buildings rather than a desire to uphold traditional architecture.
Louisville, Kent., my home town, of all places, has one of the largest and best-preserved Victorian neighborhoods in America. Why? The city never really recovered after the Great Depression and could not afford to replace anything.
In a similar manner, small towns, hit by hard times before 60’s and 80’s structures could take hold, are bastions of thoughtful, aesthetically focused architecture.
We are lucky to have access to downtown Hillsdale, which is a perfect example of such a town. It is only through careful revitalization efforts that these buildings continue to be both preserved and utilized.
As far as campus is concerned, we are lucky to attend a school that understands the rhetorical power of architecture and is willing to forgo the modern inclination to churn out ugly, functional, monolithic monstrosities in favor of Lane and Kendall (2005), Howard (2003), and the Grewcock Student Union (2006), all in the tradition of Central Hall (1875).