I give any campus I visit the aluminum rail/door test: the more aluminum railing and doors a campus has, the more its aesthetic appeal drops. I have applied this test to the following Big
Ten schools I have seen: Michigan, Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State,and Northwestern. I have not seen Iowa or MSU.
1. PSU- looked like a test center for aluminum railings and doors.The glare is blinding.
2. Purdue- battle between aluminum and concrete. Concrete won out. It's an unreal place.
3. Illinois- I could not believe the size of their campus walks. Utilitarian buildings of massive proportions with bizzare architecture abound, all surrounded by corn. Underground library cut down on aluminum use.
4. Ohio State- People actually live in their stadium. The river is filthy and separates the stadium from the ag school. Bars everywhere. Above average aluminum and many thirsty and hostile students. Buildings tend to be grubby. I was too nervous to carry out a proper assessment.
5.Northwestern- On the Lake. Intereasting architecre made up for more aluminum than I had anticipated. They could be ranked higher (lower) but for that.
5. Wisconsin- Large buildings with average aluminum ranking. Lake is big deal there as well.
6.Indiana- Interesting buildings with pleasant greenery and less than average aluminum. This score was aided by massive student union with wrought iron all over the place.
7. Michigan- The gothic style dramatically reduces UM aluminum usage. The campus is the best i have seen. Markley does have an excess of aluminum glare, but other than that, I found the campus to be a very enjoyable one. Central Campusdoes use more aluminum than i would recommned, but Central Campus more than off sets that archtiectural gaff. Overall, the Michigan campus is the most attractive campus when applying the aluminum factor. I would say UM achieved their top standing because they built fewer buildings during the fifties when aluminum railings and doors were all the rage. Remember the UGLI?