UC home to the “ugliest building”

Photo courtesy of Dan Stiver | Crosley Tower, a dorm on the campus of University of Cincinnati, is one of the ugliest university building in the United States, according to Architecture Digest. The building was built in 1969 with influence from the brutalist school of architecture which fell out of popularity shortly afterwards.


Architecture Digest, a leading national architecture magazine, named University of Cincinnati’s (UC) Crosley Tower one of its eight “Ugliest University Buildings in America” on Sept. 14.

The building was built with just one pour of concrete, making it the second largest building in the United States that was built from a single pour.

The tower, which was designed and constructed in the late 1960’s by A.M. Kinney, was part of the brutalist architecture movement in America during the ‘60s and ‘70s that was characterized by the use of concrete and repetition.

A part of modernism, brutalism originated in Europe and became popular in communist countries. The simplicity and repetition of brutalism were meant to signify the communist concepts of humility and shared space, but as the ideology fell out of popularity, so did the architecture. Communism became synonymous with totalitarianism in American culture, and this negative connotation carried over to brutalism.

Today, brutalism is widely considered a mistake in architecture history. Many architects used this style for its practicality, but because of its not-so-pleasing aesthetic style, it is now famous for universally being the most hated form of architecture.

Crosley Tower in particular was constructed in this style as a way for UC to appear “sophisticated, worldly and urbane,” well-known architect Paul Bennett said.
UC built many other tall buildings or “towers” in this decade also to keep up with this image that they were trying to portray for the city of Cincinnati.

In 1969, the same year that Crosley Tower was built, Xavier built a new, modernist building of its own: Schott Hall.

To this day, Schott Hall is the tallest building on campus, showing that all of Cincinnati was trying to portray an urban image at the time. Some, such as senior Serena Amlie, believe the building to be quite ugly.

“Schott is my favorite and least favorite building on this campus,” Amlie said. “The outside is as ugly as the inside, but the view from the top is amazing.”

This goes to show that the modernist movement was a very experimental time in architecture, especially in Cincinnati, and according to Architecture Digest, UC got the worst of it.


By: Sofia Estrada ~Staff Writer~

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