What Harvard's Building

Harvard's built some pretty great stuff, notably the Carpenter Center and Gropius's Bauhaus building, Harkness Commons. But it doesn't try so hard every time and sometimes it just flops. The McKay Labs (upper right) are functional but featureless. And Yamasaki's (he later built the Woodrow Wilson School building at Princeton) William James Hall (left) is visually unbalanced and doesn't fit into its surroundings. The Loeb (above) just sits there but then really makes it at night. Hilles Library, too, is neat in the dark but scares the people who live across Garden St. Sert's buildings look a little plastic; and his Peabody Terace is more urban than Cambridge and turns something of a cold shoulder to its environment. But his Holyoke Center really works in Harvard Square. A lot of people get quite freaked out by the Ed School's "vertical anthill" (below); but it's a personal thing. -- JOHN G. SHORT