You See, I See, UCI Is Ugly

As a student whose prior exposure to a learning institution amounted to nothing more than my high school’s cramped, stucco building lined with artificial turf, UCI’s campus was a refreshing change that evoked feelings of unity and life with its lush, circular layout. Nevertheless, the aesthetic of the buildings prevalent on campus lacks any sense of interest due to its monotone coloring. The homogeneity of each school fails to showcase the lively, eccentric nature of the student body that comprises the Anteater community, rightfully placing it as number 43 on Complex’s 2013 Fifty Ugliest College Campuses list.

UC Irvine has undertaken significant yearly construction projects in an effort to remodel the university grounds and introduce more modern designs to the young campus. The end goal is capturing the attention of potential applicants while also accommodating the needs of the growing population.

These projects are, however, viewed in the long-term and should be supplemented by short-term efforts to beautify the campus. Revamping the overall color scheme of the buildings or incorporating different materials to highlight particular attributes of their design, for instance, would distinguish the various personalities and voices comprising the Anteater community. Such variation could set each school apart, even as Ring Road brings a sense of unity to the campus as a whole.

The Paul Merage School of Business is an example of an aesthetically pleasing structure due to its eclectic coordination of materials – glass, metal, and stone — and meticulous color pairings that add much-needed pops of color without being overbearing. The incorporation of overhead lighting creates a sense of wonder in an inviting environment, invoking feelings of warmth and comfort that effectively contrast that of its indistinguishable neighboring buildings.

The modernity of such areas of the school are reflective of the ever-growing enterprises in the city of Irvine. Similar to how each firm seeks to separate itself from industry rivals, UCI must too focus on the attributes that categorize it as unique in comparison to other schools.

UCLA, for instance, chooses to highlight its traditional architecture in conjunction with the subtle variations of earthy tones present in buildings’ brick exterior. UCSB chooses to maintain a minimalist approach through its open campus presentation, reflecting the beach located in close proximity to the school.

UCI, a relatively young UC campus, relies heavily on its thriving landscape to represent its buoyant, active nature. However, similar to the aesthetic of the various educational departments on campus, its presentation severely lacks the incorporation of color that floral designs could contribute to.

UCI taken as an aesthetic whole is not completely unappealing, but it severely lacks a consistent flow in its appearance that would otherwise let it compete with its fellow UC campuses. To capture the attention of campus visitors and better appeal to present Anteaters, the school should consider short-term investments — namely, painting — to improve the overall design of the various departmental schools.

Lilith Martirosyan is a third-year business administration major. She can be reached at llmartir@uci.edu.