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  • Old EastBuildings form an edge to a space and are grouped to form a quadrangle, with the longest side of each building usually fronting a quad so as to be an integral part of area activity.
  • Dimensions, openings and details are human scale.
  • Facades are generally planar except when a portico element is added.
  • Structure is vertical bay with vertically oriented openings.
  • Generally, there is more wall space than window space.
  • Architectural elements are often integral to construction.
  • Building ornamentation is restrained.
  • Pragmatic elements are included as part of the facade (for examples, down-spouts, chimneys and entrances).
  • Materials are generally modest (for example, brick instead of marble).
  • Wilson LibrarySites are generally in places of honor or focus (for example, within a quad, it may be the head building with a grand entry and broad steps centered on the open space).
  • Scale is compatible with historic core of campus.
  • Sophisticated proportioning systems are used in building massing.
  • Tripartite division, both vertically and horizontally, define a clear hierarchy of elements.
  • Preference is given to overall symmetry, with secondary local symmetries sometimes used to create picturesque effects.
  • There is a range of proportion of wall space to window space.
  • System of ornamentation may not be tied to construction but rather to symbolic cultural meaning.
  • Sculpted facades are deep and three-dimensional.
  • Historical references generally are incorporated.
  • Grand materials are used (for example, stone).
  • Buildings are sited as objects in space.
  • Absence of hierarchy between buildings, so that:
    • they do not participate in making campus spaces; and
    • the relationship between building masses and open spaces is random rather than designed.
  • Buildings’ relationships to roads are ill-defined, so that:
    • they do not front streets; and
    • suburban-style setbacks often are used as parking lots.
  • Overall massing dictates form, resulting in buildings that are more like objects.
  • Building scale is indeterminate.
  • Hierarchy of parts (base, middle, top) is unclear.
  • Abstract forms are preferred over forms of “traditional” buildings, which have roofs, walls, doors and windows that are more planar.
  • Buildings are out of scale with surrounding context.
  • Vertical surfaces are less likely to be designed as facades.
  • Openings can be slots or zones characterized by an absence of wall.
  • Buildings may or may not show method of construction.
  • Buildings express style of the time.
  • Function dictates form in a physical way rather than in a symbolic way.
  • Steel-frame construction results in exterior materials of varying types, with some deteriorating prematurely.
South Campus


  • Buildings are sited to create an edge along the street or open space in concert with existing buildings.
  • Buildings, both monumental and background, are scaled to complement existing campus buildings.
  • Masses are broken down into human-scaled parts that create a unified whole.
  • Frame construction can be seen in vertical surfaces.
  • Often, there is more window space than wall space or equivalent proportion of window to wall.
  • Facades are “layered” as a series of flat, planar surfaces composed within the constraints of a modest dimension.
  • Ornamentation is restrained but attempts to relate construction techniques to cultural symbols of building type.
  • Buildings are sited to create and reinforce open spaces and are likely to complement the roles of existing buildings.
  • Buildings draw inspiration from history and contemporary ideas.
  • Important public areas are often filled with light by using curtain walls or skylights and large areas of glass.
  • Elements of facades have a clear hierarchy and entry is well-defined.
  • Buildings may incorporate historical references or have a more abstract form.
  • Materials are usually chosen to convey solid mass and permanence.
Transitional Building

Transitional Building


Preferred Models

Rams Head, UNC-Chapel Hill
Carrington Hall addition, UNC-Chapel Hill
Center for Dramatic Art, UNC-Chapel Hill

To Be Avoided

Davie Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill
Wilson Library stacks, UNC-Chapel Hill
Old School of Dentistry Building, UNC-Chapel Hill

By studying existing building styles, we see which characteristics of certain styles have worked to further enhance the structure of the campus and which have not. The primary lessons to be learned involve siting, massing and scale. New buildings should be sited in order to create outdoor spaces. Their massing and scale should mesh with surrounding buildings, roads and neighborhoods.