Trying to keep up with the Joneses (or, say, MITs) is a big part of being a college. That frequently means trying to out-cool and out-weird other schools when it comes to major construction projects.
We've tracked down ten of the strangest college buildings across the globe.
1. Stata Center, MIT
MIT's Dr. Seussian Stata Center opened back in 2004, and houses several laboratories and departments where super smart people learn how to be even smarter. Some supremely impressive folks are associated with the building including architect Frank Gehry, funder Bill Gates, and linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, who has an office at Stata.
2. Emerson College Los Angeles, Emerson College
Emerson’s new Los Angeles building opened earlier this year, and it is brain-meltingly awesome. I looks like a work of modern art that has taken center stage at a concert festival. The Los Angeles outpost is home to Emerson students who "live, study, and work at the center," and hopefully realize they have pretty much the coolest college housing in the world.
3. School of Art, Design, and Media, Nanyang Tech, Singapore
The School of Art, Design, and Media brings some seriously green architecture to Nanyang Tech, one of the two largest universities in Singapore. The sleek, glass-faced building opened in 2006, and features a grass roof that probably makes for great games of pick-up ultimate frisbee.
4. Sharp Centre for Design, OCAD University
Floating over the street like a box-shaped space ship beaming up passers by on the sideway, the OCAD's decade-old Sharp Centre for Design is truly one of the most distinctive modern education structures in the world. The building sits four stories off the ground, and won the first-ever Royal Institute of British Architects Worldwide Award.
5. Simmons Hall, MIT
Simmons Hall, the only building on our list that's exclusively a dormitory, is also the only building on our list that looks like it might be spelling out a word with letters (it's not). The brilliant, ten-story design was completed in 2002.
6. Swanston Academic Building, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University
RMIT's Swanston Academic Building was completed in 2012 for an absurd $200,000,000. Of course, this means that everything is green and state-of-the-art, including a "two-story cantilevered student portal that hangs over Swanston Street." We have no idea what that means, but it sounds incredible.
7. Luigi Einaudi Campus, University of Turin, Italy
It's hard to find a picture that does Turin University's Luigi Einaudi Campus justice, since the facility is so incredibly massive, but here's our attempt above. The building was completed last year to host the school's faculties of Law and Political Science. It may or may not be worth mentioning that from overhead, the campus looks a whole lot like the Star Trek logo.
8. Aoyama Technical College Building, Aoyama Technical College, Japan
Aoyama Technical College in Tokyo looks a lot like a building that was trying to transform into a robot, but got lazy and decided to stop halfway through. The oddball structure was completed in 1990 by prominent Japanese architect Makoto Sei Watanabe.
9. Richard B. Fisher Center, Bard College
The classy junkyard look of the Richard B. Fisher Center — the second Frank Gehrey building on the list — was completed in 2003. Located in the Hudson River Valley's Bard College, the Fisher Center is widely regarded as one of the best small performance theaters in the country.
10. City Campus, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore
Lasalle College of the Arts' City Campus, completed in 2007 for $82 million is a spectacle from both the exterior, with porous, city-facing walls that look like they're just begging to be climbed, and an open-air interior featuring a courtyard and outward-facing classrooms, offices, and performances spaces.
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Brehm, D. (2004, May 12). New building embodies vision — and quirkiness. MIT News Office. Retrieved April 27, 2014, from MIT News
Becker, R. (2014, January 13). Emerson Los Angeles opens to students | Emerson College. Emerson College. Retrieved April 27, 2014, from Emerson College
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Simmons Hall. (n.d.). MIT Facilities. Retrieved April 27, 2014, from MIT Department of Facilities
Swanston Academic Building. (n.d.). RMIT University. Retrieved April 27, 2014, from RMIT University
Campus Luigi Einaudi / Foster + Partners. (n.d.). ArchDaily. Retrieved April 27, 2014, from ArchDaily
Aoyama Technical College Building. (n.d.). Makoto Architect. Retrieved April 27, 2014, from Aoyama Technical College
Welcome to the Fisher Center. (n.d.). The Fisher Center. Retrieved April 27, 2014, from The Fisher Center of Performing Arts