“I am going to begin by telling you what has made me realize I absolutely love where I go to school and the climate of this campus. I found it hard to narrow down my list of favorite buildings to only three.
I would like to start by giving an overview of general patterns I noticed with my favorite buildings. What I found is that certain feelings arise when you are in different buildings. These feelings can be provoked by memories or simply your surroundings. In all three of my favorite places, Allen Centennial Garden, Union South, and the Wisconsin Energy Institute, I often find myself feeling welcomed, comfortable, happy, and somewhat intrigued. These feelings stem from the fact that these 3 locations are clean, have beautiful innovative designs, sustainable features, and what I think is the biggest contributor to my liking of these places—the amount of natural light.
Union South was an immediate choice for me. I find the building itself uniquely designed and provides exactly what the west side of campus needed–a hub for people to gather. Although this union has no lake to gaze out at, there is usually no stress associated with finding a seat.
One thing I love about Union South is the delicious food you can get there: I am an ice cream fanatic and having the Daily Scoop easily accessible from most of my classes on Engineering Drive is a major plus. It also has its own farmer’s market on Thursday nights which I enjoy.
I’ve also grown to love Union South as a study spot. It’s definitely no library for hardcore studying, but there is something extremely calming about the subtle lull of the piano and chatter of those around that make studying here enjoyable.
Allen Centennial Garden
I honestly think this is the gem of campus. If you ever need a place to wander, read a book, or enjoy lunch, this is the place to go. The web of paths that connect the garden make the place so intriguing and fun to explore.
I love being in a big city for school and still being about to go to a place as calm and serene as Allen Centennial Garden. It’s often not a very busy place – but even if it is, you can easily find a little nook to tuck yourself away from it all.
Lastly, if you don’t have a book or a lunch, you can certainly be entertained by observing all of the creatures that call the garden home.
This again gets back to the fact that you can feel so removed from nature downtown, but it’s nice to have somewhere to go to be around it all again.
Wisconsin Energy Institute
I think this is the most beautifully designed building on campus–partially because it’s so functional. The floor plan makes logical sense with labs on one side and offices on the other. Also, natural light is visible virtually anywhere you are in the building which makes spending time there enjoyable.
One thing I love about the building is that it’s just far enough out of reach for the general student population that it’s rarely busy and you can always find a place to sit. There’s indoor and outdoor seating on the first floor–a great place to sprawl out books and study–or there’s a small nook on every floor overlooking University and Johnson with incredible views (cooler the higher up you go) and a whiteboard to brainstorm on.
Lastly I think it is so neat that they tied in the sustainability aspect to the building design and included educational components throughout the building. There are signs throughout elaborating on the sustainable design strategies, including efficiencies in energy, water, air and materials, the site itself, and building performance.”