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The New Quad: Modern Work of Art or Barren Wasteland?

I’m an architect’s daughter.  More specifically, I’m the daughter of an architect at BC.  My dad has worked in capital projects here since 2005, but his job has never been so interesting to me than now, when the projects he takes part in affect my day-to-day life as a BC student.  Dad gives me the inside scoop on new projects, from renovated lounges in Chevy and Duchesne to Stokes to the mysterious ten-year plan, and I give him some insights from the perspective of a student, which is usually positive.

This time around, my reaction to the newest campus modification was fairly mixed.  I’m sure by now you’ll know what I’m talking about—the redesigned quad, just reopened this semester after a summer of construction.

Credit: Lee Pellegrini, Flickr
Credit: Lee Pellegrini, Flickr

Now, the new quad isn’t terrible.  It’s great that it blends in with the new O’Neill Plaza (which at first I was not enthusiastic about, but eventually grew to love) and the Stokes pathway.  The design looks far more unified than before, and it’s an improvement from the uneven brick that used to be there.  The path is cleaner and more streamlined, which should hopefully make for more efficient foot traffic.

However, after my first visit to the quad, there are a few drawbacks that can’t be ignored.  The first is the sheer lack of trees.  The old quad was full of great big trees that were easily accessible to hang banners or just relax in the shade.  Most of the greenery is separated from the new quad area.  For me, this is a huge dealbreaker, and the quad would be greatly enhanced with the addition of more trees—especially along the pathways—to provide natural shade and a pleasant place to sit on the few fair-weather days in Chestnut Hill, much like the bygone days of the Dustbowl.

Another concern is the modern design of the new quad, which may clash with the existing buildings around it.  Gasson, Lyons, Fulton and Devlin are prime examples of BC’s gorgeous gothic architecture, and putting a sleek ribbon of concrete down the middle of them seems out-of-place, though well-suited to the area outside O’Neill.  While the pathways of middle campus now blend well together, whether they blend with their surroundings remains to be seen.

In the end, time will tell how the new quad works out.  It is my hope that by the time spring returns, bringing sundress days and warm weather to the Heights, the quad will be a well-worn and welcome addition to BC’s campus.  Until then, I’m in the market for a good tree to sit under… anyone know where I can find one?

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One Comment

  1. Well written kid. Proud of you!

    Frank Lloyd Wright

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