by Michael Lowrey
I did my masters at N.C. State and was subjected to several classes in Harrelson Hall, which was probably the most bizarre building I’ve ever set foot in. Harrelson is round, which means that the classrooms are pie-shaped. And that makes for a rather interesting learning experience, especially if you’re sitting near the wall. And yes, even the bathroon stalls were wedges. The all-fluorescent lighting was just brutal. I distinctly remember doing a face-plant going down the insanely steep stairs too.
Now comes word that N.C. State is looking at tearing down Harrelson, probably in the summer of 2016. Good. There are some important lessons here: not all that is suppose to be innovative actually works out in practice and not all old build buildings are worth saving.
Bonus thought: Note that even preservationists aren’t exactly rallying to save Harrelson. The Raleigh News & Observer has this quote from blogger John Morris, a N.C. State grad who often writes about the virtues of older buildings:
It is thought-provoking and unique, it definitely adds a lot of character to N.C. State, and especially to the Brickyard. But it just doesn’t do its job very well, and it’s really hard to argue in favor of preserving a structure that just completely and utterly fails on all fronts, other than the exterior appearance.