Boos for the Big House
"It was a huge, huge mistake to change the design of the stadium," laments retired U-M architecture and urban planning dean Bob Beckley. "And the tragedy is that they had the opportunity to make a distinctive building. While a big part of the old stadium's genius was its lightness, the additions make it look massive and heavy." Beckley pays the project the ultimate M-go-Blue insult: "They're making it look more like the Ohio State stadium, which can't be their intention-can it?"
Most of the architects also abhor 202 South Thayer. Opened in 2006, the six-floor office building at Thayer and Washington went up literally in the shadow of the likewise almost unanimously abominated Corner House Lofts.
"I find that building very disappointing," says Luckenbach with a glint of anger in his eyes, "but more for what it says about the university than for the building itself. It shows the university doesn't care about its impact on neighborhoods, that it's not high on their priority list-that they may not even have a priority list."
"I don't like that building," concurs Marc Rueter with a slight shudder. Rueter, who has designed dozens of small-scale residential and commercial projects around town, says 202 Thayer "has a real mean streak. There's not enough glazing, and it's unpleasant to walk past."