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Page first written 5 December 2003
Last updated 5 December 2003
Muirhead Tower of the University of Birmingham
Photograph taken on: 3 October 2002. (Larger image)
Muirhead Tower that dominates one corner of the Edgbaston campus of the University of Birmingham. The building, completed in 1967 (incidentally this is the year that I was born as well), was built to the design of Philip Dowson of Arup Associates, the famous contractor. The local history book says it got a commendation from the "Civic Trust"; however, the building is now infamous to both students and members of staff, and is regarded as a single most ugly building in the beautiful campus. Various ridiculous rumors are around, such as: "the scaffoldings on the building has been there since it was complete" (at least it has actually been there for the recent five years or so), or: "the building was designed by a student with the School of Civil Eng, who considered the direction of the most significant wind in the area but, upon actual construction, built it in the wrong orientation", or: "the pre-stress of the concrete is applied in such a way that the building will be shattered apart once anybody tries to knock it down, which means you actually can never demolish it", and so on and so forth. In fact, the building is said to shake when strong winds blow; insufficiency of the capacity of lifts or emergency stairs are also apparent (for the lifts, it is said to be due to the fact that the original design of using continuous lift system, in which people can jump onto one of the moving cars going continuously upwards or downwards, were rejected because of safety concerns), and there have been fears that window glasses would be removed from the building when strong gales blow! I believe Arup will never be proud that they have been in charge of this particular building. The name, Muirhead Tower, came from that of the first philosophy professor of the University.
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TAKAGI, Ryo email@example.com (c) R. Takagi 2003. All rights reserved.