Friday, October 13, 2017

The pointless glory of San Diego State's new (unfinished) Industrial Engineering building

San Diego State has a live webcam overlooking the new multistory Industrial Engineering building they have been slaving away at for about three years. They say they will be done in 2018, but I don't think the building will be fully operational until 2019. There are a lot of questions about how aboveboard a lot of the things involved in building this dull structure (and I call it a dull structure because it resembles all the other (older) buildings surrounding it - architecturally it speaks to pointless conformity) mostly the naming rights of portions of the building. For that you can blame the former college president, Elliot Hirshman, who left suddenly this summer. You used to have to be a professor and dead to get your name onto a building at SDSU (the exception being Manchester Hall, named in the '80s after local hotel zillionare Doug Manchester), but since they began pulling stunts like the "Mack Family Elevator Foyer" in Student Services West and all the bizarre naming rights around the new student center (which is named after the now-dead real-estate bigshot Conrad Prebys).

What the Webcam Shows

Above is the building as it was in late September. Most of the exterior work has been done and they are cementing in the stairs, which are just rebar and concrete laying on top of the clay soil. The walled-in thing on the left looks to be a wheelchair ramp. It was a cloudy day. If you look close, you will see the characteristic green window frames which are part of the Hepner Hall complex and other buildings on campus.

Three nights later (September 25). Possibly they are working on the interior day and night. All of this is fenced off and no student has been inside this yard.

Yes, the setting sun shines right into the camera, because it is locked dead at this view.
An early morning fog bank.

Working on a Saturday early this month. They must be desperate to get this thing done by 2018.

What is the point of this building?

Good question - literally it takes three single story buildings and combines them into one three story building and a two story building connected to a walkway, and it connects the two story building to the old 1963 Engineering building with a bridge (SDSU is really into bridges). The trick with those previous structures was that they didn't jut out into the sky like these ones or the C. Prebys student center, so you can see it from the freeway that runs in the valley below the university, or from the bridge that connects College Avenue. They also weren't physically imposing and some of the laboratories looked like an afterthought, much like the former radar lab building Noam Chomsky worked out of for decades at MIT.

A space like the above is far more useful to impress donors and those "all important" foreign students, and the pseudo-Spanish Colonial buildings mix with the high Spanish Colonial buildings of Balboa Park which you just know the families of the foreign students visit alongside the college. So for that they demolished a wall built by the Works Progress Administration in 1940, a former model factory built in the 1950s, and a pretty decent quad.

No comments:

Post a Comment