With the trustees’ decision to raze Milliken and build a new dorm in its stead, we have the unique chance to play with the look of the campus. The current problem with the social dorms and with Milliken is a disparity in building styles. So now, before settling on a particular design for Milliken, the trustees should have a comprehensive idea of what they wish the rest of the Quad to look like, instead of haphazardly building whatever looks good at the time.
There is nothing wrong with bringing a fresh look to the campus-in fact, we encourage this strongly. But in order to turn the Social Quad into an aesthetically pleasing whole, the architect must understand that it is a whole. We must plan it as such and take into account the surrounding architecture. It might also be a good idea to let the student body share in the process, or at least provide fror some student input before settling on a final plan, which would tremendously change the look of our campus.
The social dorms, when they were built, were in the modern style. But architecture has progressed beyond the concrete and colored glass we associate with the ’60s; no longer should we limit ourselves to the traditional materials or styles represented on the majority of the campus. If we want a modern look, we should do so wholeheartedly, without apologizing for our hubris by adding a classical touch here and there or by using red brick instead of more daring materials.
In whatever we do we must remember who and where we are. We are not a urban college, so something big or ostentatious would stick out like a sore thumb. Finding a blend between the rustic atmosphere of Amherst and a more modern, attractive building style is difficult, but certainly not impossible. Otherwise, we run the risk of constructing another eyesore like Frost or the current Social Quad.