Friday, April 1, 2016

The New Math Building - Pros and Cons

The current home of Mathematics at Georgia Tech is the Skiles Building.  It is probably no coincidence that this is one of the prime examples of Brutalist Architecture.  Over the years, this classroom building has been repeatedly honored for its run down state.  The 2014 "Best and Worst of Tech" article says

"If being smelly, gross, and depressing wasn’t enough to cement 
Skiles’ bad reputation, terrible water fountains can be added to its repertoire."

That's why I was excited to see that the Tech Green was being torn up to create a new math building!  The fact that we didn't have any donors or state funds to build the building shouldn't stop us from taking bold decisive steps, right? This was about math, why should we worry about reality?

New Georgia Tech Math Building
New Georgia Tech Math Building

As I reviewed the project plans for the new math building, I was quite pleased to see a lot of improvements.  There will be an infinite number of power outlets which I know the students will like.  However, each one is only half as large as the previous one, and no adapters are provided.  Maybe that'll be something for the next Inventure prize?

The cafe has a modern coffee bar where you can plug the theorem-giving fluid directly into your bloodstream via IV.   Too bad they only serve 3.14 flavors of pie, though.

Students today expect hands on projects and the new building will have a mathematical makerspace with 2D plotters, 3D printers, and 4D time machines!

I really like the architectural features like the efficient Escher staircase, the innovative Perkins study areas which are larger on the inside than the outside, and of course the self-cleaning, Klein bottle sinks.

Summing up, the new math building going on the site of the former Tech Green is a positive development.  I truly hope it's not purely imaginary and the designers can integrate all it's unique functions.