Courtesy of Hoyafootball.com.
GM came across an interesting website last week that documents the various home fields of Georgetown University’s football team since 1889. The site has photos of each field and the one above particularly caught GM’s attention. It’s of the baseball field that the football team used in 1977-78 while Kehoe Field was being constructed.
What catches GM’s attention is not the field so much as how much has changed to this corner in such a relatively short amount of time (that is to say, relative to the school’s age). This part of the campus was almost barren at this point. Nowadays the hospital–which takes up most of this section of the campus–has just about doubled in size, Henle Village was built, the Leavey Center was built, the business school was built, and the new Regents Hall science center has nearly been built.
But this section of the campus has always struck GM as not terribly well planned. The buildings don’t seem to relate to one and other in the slightest bit and roads dominate the ground level experience. Now seeing this old photo, it starts to make sense to GM. Unlike a school like Harvard, which has a campus planned around quads and squares, GU seems to have built its campus (at least the new parts) on the backbone of a suburban office park.
This isn’t meant to be some new criticism relating in any way to the current campus plan debate. GM’s not saying a more traditional master plan would or should allow for more dorms on campus, etc.. Regardless of your position on that matter, you’d be hard pressed to say what is there “works” terribly well as a unified campus. Yes, some of the newer buildings on their own are perfectly attractive, but with the exception of the eastern older parts, on the whole the campus is a bit of a mess design wise.
GM doesn’t know nearly enough about the school’s history to know when things went wrong, but it does seem as if it wasn’t inextricably bad at the point of this photo if the school were willing and able to take some dramatic steps. Now, obviously it’s too late, and the only option is to just shoehorn in new buildings and try to make them at least work on their own terms.
One more interesting thing about this photo, it was taken before the French Embassy and Hillendale were built.