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Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Auditorium Revisited

A few months ago, Local Architecture discussed a certain auditorium on a Cincinnati area university campus that is perpetually nearing demolition. Thanks in part to a statewide tuition freeze, a global economic recession, but mostly the preservation efforts of the Local Architecture blog and its loyal followers, this building still stands. Local Architecture correspondent Dr. Venkman came across this collection of new photos:

The main level of the auditorium; there is a balcony above with more seating and the control booth.

The main lobby, black and white photo.

The Library of Obed J. Wilson has been allowed to fall apart since the building closed.

Abandoned support spaces in the buildings auxiliary wing; you can almost see the ghosts of 40's style pinup girls preparing for the big show.

The main hallway on the top floor of the buildings auxiliary wing.

Looking down from the front row of balcony seating.

Abandoned junk now fills what were once places of learning.

With a massive, modern, and beautiful music and theater complex, the university sees little need for this auditorium. Sadly, it is only a moderately attractive theater. The facade is located prominently atop a hill along a heavily traveled street. This is one of the university's most visible locations, and the architects treated it as so through massing and art deco ornamentation. The interior of the building has been allowed to decay substantially in the decade of abandonment and disuse, despite the fact that the buildings utilities are all still running (heat, water, electricity, and alarms all running up costs while no one uses the building).

There is no doubt that whatever replacement may come in the future will be a great addition to the growing schools collection of signature architecture. However, in these troubling financial times the cost of demolition and replacement versus the cost of renovation should begin to have a greater impact on decisions regarding abandoned, decaying structures.

The view from the roof.


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