Liberal Arts and Arts & Humanities Building, 2013
Howdy! Welcome to our final post! This week we will be looking at the Liberal Arts and Arts & Humanities Building, one of the most recent establishments on campus. After our analysis of the building, we will briefly reiterate a few of the main ideas of the entire blog.
Before we get started, the Liberal Arts and Arts and Humanities Building is quite the mouthful, so we will henceforth refer to it as LAAH or the Liberal Arts building just to make the post a bit more readable.
Since the Liberal Arts building was begun in 2011 and completed in 2013, there is not a lot of history to discuss. It is a five story Post-Modernist edifice with obvious references to Beaux Arts as well as Modernism (Texas A&M University – Marketing).
It is one of the more obvious Post-Modernist buildings on campus, and its position on campus surrounded by Beaux Arts buildings like Administration and Animal Industries makes this much more obvious. We will focus on the façade of building and what Beaux Arts and Modernist elements combine to create a post-modernist building.
First let’s look at the references to Beaux Arts. There are three references to Beaux Arts that we will look at.
The first and most obvious neoclassical detail is the tripartite design of the facade It is very common for modern buildings to have tripartite design, especially taller buildings. While any building size can be tripartite design, it is often pointed to that odd numbered buildings work best in the tripartite design (“Skyscraper Architecture”).
In the case of LAAH, there are one floor for the capital, one floor for the base section of the tripartite design, and three floors for the central section. Looking at the image of the building below, you can see the three clearly demarcated sections. The top and bottom floors are an entirely different color than the central section.
The next detail is also very obvious from the picture above. The center of the back entrance includes a type of colonnade. This colonnade is not a traditional classical set of columns, but is a mix between the classical design as well as the modernist obsession with rectangles. The columns are not a traditional column with a base, central section, and capital, but rather simply five vertical creations of clean-line modernist brick.
The third reference to a neoclassical style, is a play on the architrave and cornice, but again, instead of a detailed architrave, the entablatures and cornices are clean line in the modernist style.
In the center of the façade, you can see the indentation of a very small entablature with a slightly projected cornice.
Now let’s move on to the modernist aspects of the façade. Most of the building is a play on the modernist design with the use of very clean-line materials, and a strong emphasis on rectangles and open windows.
One of the most distinctly post-modernist elements of the design is the window directly above the front entrance. The large decorative window is made of glass and steel. When I say decorative window, you may imagine stained glass or some sort of classical decorative window, but with the Post-Modernist style, the architects focus on the clean lines of Modernism while playing with decorations created by the modern materials. Below is a picture of the main entrance.
Notice how the window is not broken up panes as with modernist style windows, but is rather covered by a separate window shade made of steel in a play on the open tracery work found in many gothic churches.
Another post-modernist element is the use of material to create a decoration. The choice of bricks and color variances is commonly found as an element on post-modern facades.
There you have it. That was the Liberal Arts and Arts and Humanities Building.
To conclude, the Beaux Arts design is very focused on details and aesthetic design, while the Modernist design is focused on clean line functionalism with an emphasis on natural lighting and rectangular shapes. The Post-Modernist era is an interesting study because of its references to the two prior designs creating its own distinct style.
This marks the end of our blog about architecture on campus. I hope you enjoyed wandering campus with me and learning a thing or two about the histories and constructions of the more interesting buildings. Thanks for following!
- Texas A&M University – Marketing & Communications. “TOUR Liberal Arts Building.” Liberal Arts and Arts & Humanities Building. Texas A&M University, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
- “Skyscraper Architecture (c.1850-present).” Skyscraper Architecture. Encyclopedia of Art and Design, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.