December 26, 2004

How Not To Build Student Housing

The Harvard Business School's new student housing complex made James Howard Kunstler's Eyesore of the Month this summer, thanks to hideously offputing architecture at every turn.

Do take a look at his commentary with photos, which clearly demonstrates why simply plunking down "green space" and a "courtyard" doesn't necessarily make an inviting public space.


  1. Kunstler's picture collection of ugly architecture is a hoot, and his analysis of how the structures fail purposeful design is valid, but I'm a little put off by his profanity. Kunstler doesn't award much credence to the application of landscaping, as if nature has little purpose inside the urban environment. Walking environments benefit from landscaping.

  2. I agree that landscaping is important in urban environments, and for the walking environment everywhere. But I think Kunstler's point is that poorly-designed greenspace isn't much better than no green space at all.

    This is a problem in suburban planning as well, by the way. Too often, projects will include "open space" that isn't appealing, usable or accessible. Simply sticking in some grass, without taking enough thought to make a good public space, isn't the answer.

    And yes, he could have made the same point without the profanity.