Ziler Architects this week made public new renderings for the Fletcher Hall renovation, but the general consensus remains something along these lines: “painful to observe, let alone imagine being built,” says UL alumnus and artist Herman Mhire on the Save Fletcher Hall Facebook page.

fletcher_existing
Existing Fletcher Hall
fletcher_ziler_original
Ziler Architects' original submission for the redesign of Fletcher Hall

The renovation project is intended to waterproof the building, which welcomed its first students in the spring of 1977, and create 21,000 additional square feet for studios and offices.

When the initial design was made public in December, a group of students, faculty and alumni who have all called the khaki-colored building at the corner of Lewis Street and Girard Park Drive their home away from home gathered to provide a solution to the problems inherent in the plans — namely, they say, the architect’s attempt to blend the structure with the rest of the campus buildings by incorporating red brick and hip roofs.

fletcher-hall_redesign_by_ziler

The architect went back to the drawing board, prompting one alum to call the second attempt
"painful to observe."

“It’s the design building, and it’s getting one of the worst designs on campus,” says Gabe Andrews, president of UL’s chapter of American Institute of Architecture Students. “Fletcher Hall always stood out — flat roof, balconies, white — and students think it should stay that way.”

While much attention has been focused on whether Fletcher Hall should or should not relate to other buildings on campus, the general criticism of Ziler’s design has been brutal.

Among the comments on Ziler's first design, from Max Nochez, a project designer in New Orleans.: “The next season of The Walking Dead should be shot at Fletcher if it goes through.”

Read IND Monthly's story on the revolt, which continues on Facebook even since the architect went back to the drawing board and released new renderings this week, here.

fletcher-hall_alum_design
Fletcher Hall alums release their vision for the building they all
once called a home away from home (now this is something we can all live with).

 

A group of Fletcher Hall alums took the matter into their own hands, creating a new rendering (with UL President Dr. Joseph Savoie’s authorization) that aims to preserve the building’s iconic presence on campus. Their rendering, which they presented it to Ziler Thursday, has metal panels on the side and incorporates more glass on the exterior facing the park, allowing natural light to penetrate the building. 

It's unknown whether the budget to build the group’s design is comparable to the budget for the current building plans.

“I am open to design modifications that can be accomplished within the critical time frame and that are possible within the budget allocated by the state,” architect Ziler says in a university press release. The release went on to say that any modifications to the design could delay construction and “negatively affect the next accreditation review in spring 2014 by the National Architecture Accrediting Board.”

To that, Mhire says on Facebook, “What effect would such an unimaginative renovation design have upon the accreditation of the School of Architecture? Accepting mediocrity for the sake of expediency is not justifiable.”

IND Monthy left a message early Friday afternoon at Ziler’s office. We’ll update this story when we hear back from him.

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