a building fascination…. lowry/lee hall

I seem to have missed something. I didn’t know I was missing anything, but I still did. We all do that, right? As I walked from Fluor Daniel, down the cul-de-sac, I only wanted to get a look at a certain strange building that I used to walk by a lot. Back when my hours were later, and it was impossible to park, I would occasionally find a spot way out behind the Strom Thurmond Institute… or behind the great unknown glassed-in building. What was its name? I could never find one, when I walked by.DSC_0093

After getting a picture to show my family, and ask them if they knew, I walked past Lee Hall and up the cul-de-sac, stopping for my final picture of the sculpture by Fluor Daniel. A right turn took me past Lowry Hall, where I stopped to look at the strange construction-style sculpture out front. Aside from thinking it looked like a great jungle gym (wouldn’t ever kid love it if their dad brought them something like that to play on, in their back yard?), I knew it must signify what Lowry Hall residents studied. Ah, Civil Engineering, that makes sense. I knew it had to be something fancier than “Construction”.  : )

But when I was looking up information on the strange glass building, I found that it was designated as Lee III, and won’t be finished until 2020. It’s supposed to be extremely energy efficient, a model of sustainability, and was built with lots of recycled materials. I just hope the air-conditioning works, with all those windows bringing in the blazing Southern sun. It has even won a national award for design achievement.DSC_0094

Anyway, I was looking for more information on Lowry Hall, after seeing what they were doing with Lee III (while I still wondered why Lee kept getting extended, instead of naming each building something new). And I found something unexpected. I know, another one, right? Lee Hall and Lowry Hall are connected by a covered breezeway, and have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. To translate, that means that these two slightly boring looking buildings have something of interest that I missed.

You see, while Lee III looks pretty neat, the main Lee building was just brick of some sort, to my peripheral vision, something like my old elementary school. And the only reason I stopped to look at Lowry was because of the orange construction sculpture. So, what about these two buildings could possibly make them historically interesting?DSC_0097

Well, let’s see what I found out… Harlan McClure was an architect that designed the Lee/Lowry complex, as a model example of the “modern style of architecture in the International style”. The design was meant to inspire future architects and civil engineers with a vision for what they could truly design and build. I think even the layout of the classrooms was meant to enhance their immersion into the depths of architecture and design.

But since I missed all of this, I can’t really tell you anything but what I’ve read online. My brother and I might even have played disc golf between these buildings, and never stopped to notice any of the historical content. I’ll have to go back on another Saturday, and take another look.

You see, during the week, I find it easy to miss the buildings for the students (like missing the forest for the trees). If you walk around with your head in the clouds (or looking at walls of buildings), you’re likely to walk into someone. Besides, you can’t get good pictures with people always walking in front of you. Also, I’m more likely to NOT take certain pictures, because of having people watching… even if they aren’t paying any attention to me. And I like the peacefulness of a sunny Saturday. Lots of grad students are still working, but they’re inside, not bothering me, so everyone’s happy. Well, I hope they’re happy (though, maybe not, if they have to work on the weekend).DSC_0098

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