Sunday, November 2, 2008

First Campus Walk

My first look at the campus almost sent to the airport and the next flight home. Construction started here in the early-1960s and most of the important buildings were designed by a famous Brutalist architect, Jorge Perierra. The exciting new building material for the Brutalists was concrete and I walked buy one concrete monolith after another. In most of the buildings, all other materials - glass, iron, wood, you name it - had been completely marginalized. A standard feature was to have tiny windows sunken into bulging concrete dormers so that only meager light could ever leak through. Few of the buildings grouped together coherently, mostly they just stood, isolated, glowering down at me.
The stark setting rejected human beings. It didn't help that most students hadn't shown up yet so that it was even quieter and sterile than usual. California bought this land, cheap, from a real estate corporation looking to develop the region. The campus represents the perfect partnership of state and corporate interest, but there doesn't seem to be much place for people in it.