Stone Dropped in a Pond of Water
Walter Netsch’s unique campus design was based on the metaphor of a stone dropped in a pond of water. Buildings were grouped by function with the most important – the lecture centers – forming a close circle at the center. Classroom building clusters, anchored by the library to the west and the student union to the east, formed the next ring. Offices and laboratories were further removed from the center, and on the outermost ring to the south were the athletic fields. With the large buildings situated towards the outside, the central area was buffered acoustically from the noise of the nearby expressway.
Inspired by classical motifs such as the agora, the marketplace in ancient Greece, the Forum and the lecture centers represented the center of learning, the place where students and their teachers gathered to discuss ideas. From there, learning extended outwards in all directions. “What happens between classes came to be regarded as being as important as what happens in classes,” said Netsch. His campus design facilitated “the meeting-in-the-corridor on a grand scale.”