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Chicagophile
  > > e-Bulletin: 04/15/02


EDITOR'S NOTES
Ad Building, Sweet Ad Building

The more things change, the more they stay the same. On the Ides of March the University of Chicago Magazine moved its offices for the third time since 1980. After 16 years in the Robie House garage and five years across the Midway in the Merriam Center-sharing space with the Alumni Association, Chapin Hall, and the Center for School Improvement-we're back to the place from which we first moved: the building that, until recently, everyone would have agreed was the ugliest on campus.

IMAGE:  The Ad Building in 1951 looked like the Ad Building today.

That would be the Administration Building, opened in 1948 and designed by the Chicago firm of Holabird, Root and Burgee in "functionalist" style. The style, explains A Walking Guide to the Campus, published during the University's centennial in 1991, was a function of the fact that "Gothic had fallen from architectural favor, and the University felt a need to economize wherever possible." Indeed, the nicest thing the guide finds to say about our new home is actually not about the building itself but about its colleagues: "If anything demonstrates the essential integrity of the original Gothic buildings, it must be their ability to accept this 'functionalist' neighbor without losing the cohesive visual and spatial character that gave the original campus plan its acknowledged distinction."

Several years ago it was rumored that a faculty committee, charged with looking outside the box on ways to renovate the campus, suggested that the Ad Building get a trompe l'oeil veneer of gothic-gables, gargoyles, arches, and more, all applied in shades of gray paint. Nothing came of the idea-in fact, it may have been an elaborate April Fool's hoax-but imagining buttresses and bas-reliefs, tracery and turrets, overlaid on the cold clean lines of the Ad icebox is a pleasant form of architectural daydreaming.

But I digress. On the Ides of March the Magazine staff moved into the icebox, specifically into several work spaces on the northwest end of the fourth floor, real estate occupied by the University of Chicago Press until its own move south of the Midway ("Publish and Flourish," February/01). We're happy with the amenities of our new space, delighted to be on the quads, and, as you'd expect from tenants in the Ad Building, we love the gothic views.

Addenda
Several players in the February/02 issue need to be properly recognized. In an effort to make our "How many Chicago students does it take to change a lightbulb?" contest as unbiased as possible, we separated entries from entrants' names. In one case, we separated too well, and Ben Ostrov, AM'77, PhD'87, went without credit for his punch line accounting: "Ten-one to change the bulb and nine to consider the economic feasibility of this mode of illumination." Meanwhile, when "Chicagophile" visited the Maroon at deadline, it incorrectly identified second-year Jennifer Bussell; Jennifer is the student paper's news editor.

Two notes about this issue: David Forbes's "Life as a Mind" (page 26) begins with a reference to David Wexler, AB'67, PhD'71. Since the essay's writing, Wexler has died (see "Deaths"), and Forbes remembers him this way: "As the big brother I never had, David Wexler was compassionate, funny, and insightful and at summer camp he patiently helped me improve my chops on electric guitar (he excelled at both rock and acoustic). His doctoral research-that imaginative and cognitively stimulating empathic responses could contribute to client self-development-modeled a way that said you could put feelings and smarts together, just like him."

This issue also marks Chris Smith's last appearance on our masthead as associate editor. Chris, whose "News You Can Abuse" (October/01) was a provocative look at the U.S. News & World Report rankings, has earned his A.M. and is off to start a doctoral program in anthropology this fall. Until then he'll be hopping trains, playing guitar, and honing his freelance skills.
-M.R.Y.


 


  APRIL 2002

  > > Volume 94, Number 4


  FEATURES
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Auteur! Auteur!
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A Run for Our Money
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My Life as a Mind
  > >
Thinking Inside the Box
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Home, home in the Reg


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