North Campus redesign could add vibrancy

BY MARIA SPROW
Daily Staff Reporter
Published October 7, 2002

Fifty years from now, most University officials say North Campus won't be the same students are accustomed to, as the area's open land creates many possibilities for new buildings and scenery.

Paul Wong
PATRICK JONES/Daily
North Campus Redux Reception participants view proposed plans for revisions to North Campus yesterday at the event, sponsored by the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

But if the visions presented last night by the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning Dean Doug Kelbaugh come true, the Arthur Miller Theater will sit across from Pierpont Commons, and those inhabiting the Flemming Administration Building on Central Campus will pack their bags and head for Bonisteel Boulevard.

Retail shops will line Murfin Avenue and a new residential college will stand at the corner of Murfin and Hayward Street, leaving academic buildings and a meditation chapel to finish off the North Campus Diag that surrounds the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Tower, according to Kelbaugh's proposal.

The Media Union, School of Music, Art and Architecture Building and School of Information will all be expanded. New meeting places for faculty and students, including a convention center and a commons area similar to the Michigan Union, will also add some spice to the area.

"There is a lot of work left to be done on the North Campus if we want it to be on equal footing with the Central Campus," Kelbaugh said.

The vision presented by Kelbaugh at his lecture, titled "North Campus Redux," comes after years of collaboration on behalf of urban design students, University officials and executive officers, as well as deans from various schools and colleges.

"I don't think we are going to have one unified campus. It's not going to happen," Kelbaugh said during the lecture, speaking about the distance between the North and Central campuses. "(North Campus) is a commuter campus and it has been from the start."

Kelbaugh also said his plan will help to make North Campus seem less spread out to visitors. He added that the area is scaled for automobiles and not pedestrians, making the campus seemingly boring and empty for those walking around it.

Because of the placement of North Campus roads, traffic is also a problem addressed in his plan, as it calls for more available parking as well as a pedestrian-friendly environment.

"It's not even a good place to drive, much less walk," he said. "We need more destinations. We need places to have a date, places to have a drink. ... We need a little more sin."

Hank Baier, associate vice president for facilities and operations, said Kelbaugh's vision will be taken into account during future projects. The vision already takes into account several already-planned projects, including an expansion of the College of Engineering.

"I think the dean presented a lot of vision that really made me consider how North Campus will be developing in the future," Baier said. "As projects become a reality, we need to consider the long-term implications. I'm thinking about his long-term vision as I think about my next set of projects."

Several students said they also appreciated the vision presented by Kelbaugh last night, adding that they believe the plan takes student concerns and needs into account.

"I almost don't feel like I go to Michigan because we're not on the main campus, but I think he's headed in the right direction," Architecture graduate student Jenny Butler said.

Drawings and models of the plan will be on display in the Art and Architecture Building through Oct. 30.