Bricks and mortar with a soul

Perhaps because I’m most visible as a writer, people are sometimes surprised to know one of my areas of study is architectural conservation, a combination of architectural history and historic preservation.

Historic preservation involves documenting a building’s history with construction documents, measured drawings, visual observations, written sources and oral recollections; deciding what era of history and what parts of the building are most significant; and then designating which areas of the building should be restored and which should be remodeled.

Buildings are living, breathing reflections of culture and often the only way to keep a building alive (instead of just a place people visit, but don’t use) is to find a way to incorporate it into modern culture.

On campus, architectural conservation is handled by the department of Capital Planning and Project Management. Its campus preservation plan can be viewed by going to www.cppm.umn.edu.

I thought another way to bring architectural awareness to the masses would be to sponsor the first-ever campus architecture scavenger hunt. Throughout this column, there are the photos of six campus buildings. Below there are six clues. The first three people to correctly complete the scavenger hunt (or if no ones answers all six correctly, the three highest scores) will get their name published in my next column and an “I get it Daily” T-shirt. The clues:

1. I am named after the designer of the Cedar-Riverside apartment complex.
2. I am the only building of these six not still standing in its entirety .
3. I was the University’s original library building.
4. I was constructed on the site of “Old Main.”
5. I house a program that began in Norris Hall.
6. Referred to in early photos as an administration building, I still serve that purpose.

All the photos are of buildings’ exteriors. There are many wonderful interior spaces on campus that don’t necessarily correspond to the buildings’ exteriors, but I thought it would be too hard to make people identify interior spaces.

All entries should be sent to [email protected] by midnight March 24. The answers and the winners will be announced in my column March 31.

For each building, you must include its name and location, and you’ll get bonus points for knowing the year it was built, its architectural style, what its original purpose was and what its modern-day purpose is.

Include your name, a contact phone number in addition to your e-mail address, how you’re connected to the University (undergraduate, graduate, faculty, staff member or alumni) and what department you’re connected to (area of study or employment).

I’d also like you to tell me what you think the best building on campus is and what the worst building on campus is (no points for this one, just an informal poll of campus opinion).

R.R.S. Stewart welcomes comments at [email protected]