Kelsey Brady, Campus Carrier opinions editor
I am extremely grateful for the new animal science building, but there is one particular aspect that has me questioning everything. On the front of the building facing the McAllister parking lot is a structure that, in my opinion, is unnecessary to the building as a whole and diminishes the quality. This structure is an architect’s rendition of an anatomically accurate horse leg from the knee down.
The story behind the horse leg is an interesting one. One of the architects thought it would be a good idea to put a horse leg as a column on the front of the building. Instead of having a column at the eave of the building, the architect thought it could be an interesting concept to have a horse leg there instead. I can’t lie and say that this was a bad idea because it does sound like a really great addition, but the execution is lacking. The architect brought the idea to professors in the animal science department to see what they thought. Administration then got wind of the idea, and no one could stop the horse leg from being built.
Let’s start with the positives. The horse leg, albeit while looking weird, is anatomically correct. Each piece of wood depicts a different bone in the horse’s leg, and they are proportional to a normal horse’s leg. Sadly, this is where the positives end.
The physical rendering of the horse leg is not my favorite. I have talked to multiple people and they either didn’t know that it was supposed to be a horse leg or didn’t think it was finished yet. Many of us assumed that the structure was part of the construction or simply hadn’t been completed yet. Unfortunately for us, the structure has been completed and it doesn’t look like something that you would want to see on the front of a building.
The natural wood color of the “bones” does not make the leg look anymore appealing. The rectangular shape of the bones looks raw and unfinished, which is not how I want to be describing anything. It is also difficult to tell if the leg is supposed to be a front or back leg. It makes the most sense as a back leg, based on the structures present. However, putting a back leg on a building feels like an odd choice. I’m not sure if the front leg posed too many challenges architecturally or if they even considered a front leg.
From an architectural perspective, there are natural lines to a building that peoples’ eyes follow. Columns fit well into this theme and provide a straight line down to the ground. The horse leg provides a crooked, abnormal finish to the edge of the building. Regardless of how great the horse leg looks, it makes me uneasy to see a horse leg instead of a column. In my opinion, the building would look just as great, maybe even better, with a column there.
I’m not here to rain on anyone’s parade and I know that the intent behind the horse leg was not to ruin the look of the building or draw disdain from students, but it doesn’t look good. There’s no going back now, but if we could, I would suggest a column with a horse leg at the base or some kind of smaller feature that doesn’t draw the eye so much. The idea that prospective students will be seeing this leg on the front of the animal science building has me terrified because that is not how I want the program to be represented. I don’t want potential animal science majors thinking that the building looks bad because of this horse leg or not even knowing what the structure is supposed to be.
Maybe I’m being dramatic and maybe it isn’t that big of a deal, but I’ve known about this horse leg for over two weeks. I can’t reconcile it in my mind. The building cost over 15 million dollars and the horse leg ruins it.