The Lofts’ appearance raises questions


I am writing this letter to follow up on the student opinion poll published recently on the Redstone Lofts’ architectural quality, or, more to the point, lack thereof.  I read your article with interest while visiting over the reunion/homecoming weekend, so I went over to take a look at the lofts. 

Sadly, I agree with the 70 percent calling them hideous on the outside. They are. Whatever happened to an architectural review board that might say no and not approve something so out of place? I wonder if UVM has one – perhaps the Cynic can research or report on this. 

Something must be done to prevent such a missed opportunity for buildings more aesthetically appropriate for the campus. Looking just west of this monstrosity are the new, beautifully done University Heights residences, successfully incorporating modern style with Vermont vernacular. 

The architectural legacy of UVM has been stellar, up until the last couple of decades.  There are famous examples by the architecture firm Mckim, Mead and White, which designed the Fleming Museum, Ira Allen, Waterman and others, and then there is, of course, Henry Hobson Richardson’s beauty, Billings Library. 

The Davis Student Center and Jeffords Hall are examples of decent new buildings too, fitting into the existing campus in a complimentary way.

Then what has happened? The ball has been dropped and some dismal structures have been built. Somewhere there’s got to be some accountability for this ongoing policy of missed opportunities and lack of standards. I would start by asking where the architectural review board is, if one exists, who is on it and what their criteria consists of.

How the Redstone Lofts’ architect and builders could pass by many illustrious buildings on campus daily and not wonder about their choices is a mystery. Now UVM has to live with the Redstone Lofts as a reminder of what can go so terribly wrong when no one who should care is watching. Let’s make this the last time.


David Beitzel 

Class of 1980