Friday, April 24, 2015

Return to Funkhouser

Dear John,
I ran across this meme tonight, and immediately thought of Funkhouser. UK built a new Biological Sciences Building while we were there, and it's still in use. But there's nothing quite like Funkhouser.
It was built sometime in the early 20th century. The university had the School of Architecture design it. That was a mistake. It was long and low - three stories - with this big tower in the middle. And it was built before air conditioning and built with no windows. The theory was that warm air would flow up into the tower and out, drawing cool air up from the basement. None of that worked. It was a big brick oven. So they added windows and turned the tower into offices.
I always liked it. But then, I have a rather indiscriminate love for old buildings. It has lovely brick work that they intended to be exterior decoration, since it was plain brick without windows to relieve it. It never was air conditioned, but it was survivable with the windows open. It had character and a unique history. I had biology labs in the basement my freshman year and nutrition on the second floor two years later. I don't know what it's being used for now. It's probably classroom space for whoever needs it. And it's probably still not air conditioned. But at least it has windows!
And that's your sentimental journey for today: Return to Funkhouser. This is how a failed architectural experiment becomes a landmark. Good memories.
Your science major wife,

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