OPINION: The four most attractive buildings on campus

Van+Meter+Hall+sits+atop+of+WKUs+campus+on+Oct.+27%2C+2020.

Van Meter Hall sits atop of WKU’s campus on Oct. 27, 2020.

Price Wilborn, Commentary writer

WKU has prided itself on having a campus that effectively combines education and student life while creating an area of Bowling Green that is pleasing to the eye all around. This is of course also reflected in the architecture around campus.

I spoke with Architectural Science majors, seniors Colton Hendrick, Maya Rashada and Zach Heidbreder as well as junior Peter Hall, to get to the bottom of what makes a “good building?” 

“[It should] serve the function that’s going on in the space,” Hendrick said. 

For Heidbreder, the way the building “functions in the community” is an important aspect.

“[The] context is time, place, and culture…If all three of those are in unity, an architect has succeeded,” Hall said.

Rashada said that she notices “the shape of the building, what it looks like,” as well as things like the size of the windows and whether or not they have black or white trim. Hendrick said that he noticed the material and the form, or the general shape and characteristics of the building.

With these guidelines, it’s now time for my absolutely-not-definitive ranking of the top four most attractive buildings on campus.

#4 The Honors College and International Center

The Honors College and International Center is a staple of Normal Street. Just a few doors down from Gary Ransdell Hall, the HCIC gives off similar vibes. The columns are reminiscent of Cherry Hall and the belltower is reminiscent of both Cherry and Gary Ransdell. The gold cap at the top of the belltower, sets it above the rest.

Home to the Mahurin Honors College and the Office of Scholar Development, the HCIC combines education with practicality. Most of the first floor is open and filled with tables and chairs available for student use. The private study rooms with glass walls on one side create a building dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge.

#3 Gary Ransdell Hall

Gary Ransdell Hall is the staple and highlight of Normal Street. It’s arches and columns make it stand out among other landmarks like the First-Year Village and the Graves-Gilbert Clinic. The red brick makes the building one that is noticeable to anyone. The white window trim adds detail and variation that make it a building worthy of my list.

The belltower at the top of the building gives it an imposing yet majestic feeling. When asked about what he believed to be some of the best buildings on campus, Heidbreder answered with Gary Ransdell Hall. The openness, signage, and sense of direction all contribute to a building that allows students to study and learn easily.

#2 Henry Hardin Cherry Hall

I would go as far to say that Cherry Hall is the only building on campus that each student will have a class in at some point in their time at WKU. It’s the first building prospective students see of the campus (aside from the Augenstein Alumni Center). In other words, it’s a well known building. 

When I look at Cherry Hall, I see WKU. The columns and belltower are representative of the university and its history. They give off a sense of regality and history. The building is reflective of the evolution of WKU through time, seeing expansions and renovations over the years. These expansions are not initially obvious to a viewer, which is part of the beauty of the building.

Today, Cherry Hall is the symbol of the university and its values. A list of the most attractive buildings on campus would not be complete without it.

#1 Van Meter Hall

Van Meter Hall. What a beauty of architecture and construction. The columns create the regality of Cherry Hall, but it is expanded upon with the fountain and stairs in the front. Its position atop the hill only adds to this feeling. The walk up to the building gives you a sense of the history the building has seen.

Stepping into the theater in Van Meter creates a space worthy of the music and art performed in it. The high, ornate ceilings create a space worthy only of the WKU performing arts programs. Van Meter has undergone many renovations since its completion in 1911, but it still stands tall and is, in my unprofessional opinion, the most beautiful building on campus.

There it is, my top four most attractive buildings on campus. I realized while I was writing this, that I may have a thing for columns and bell towers.

Commentary writer Price Wilborn can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @pricewilborn.