The University of Cincinnati received national attention
from The New York Times
in September for its focus on "starchitecture" in building new facilities on campus — a series of striking structures designed by high-profile architects. The new buildings have helped raise UC's national profile but contribute greatly to its $1.1 billion debt load; still, enrollment has increased by nearly 30 percent over the past 10 years.
The Project for Public Spaces
has published an opinion piece that says such "build it and they will come" approaches are ruining college campuses. The nonprofit planning, design and educational organization describes itself as "dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities."
College tuition has been on the rise for 40 years, the article says, but rather than cutting costs colleges are spending more and more money on their exterior aesthetics.
"One of the boldest examples comes from the University of Cincinnati, which has enlisted a 'murderers' row' of architects to redesign their campus, including Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Peter Eisenman, Bernard Tschumi, and Thom Mayne," Project for Public Spaces says. "This adds up to a lot of shiny new buildings, including the crown jewel — Mr. Mayne’s exorbitant $112.9 million Campus Recreation Center, which opened in 2006. But there’s even more in the works: UC's Department of Athletics has requested a $70 million renovation of the basketball arena, which, if approved, will open in 2017."
The article then points out that academic spending per full-time undergraduate student at UC dropped 24 percent between 2005 and 2013 "while its professors earn salaries that rank far below those at similar research institutions."
Read the full Project for Public Spaces story here