Douglas Newby
Architecturally Significant Homes
Horse & Trolly

Practice Makes Perfect

The building of an indoor practice football field on SMU’s Bishop Boulevard purports to make an SMU football team better. The total disregard for campus aesthetics promises to perfect bad. It will be hard for SMU to find someone with a straight face that this indoor practice football field reaches an acceptable standard of campus planning or architecture. I have always thought a football field helped a university. If the games were on campus—even better. Academics and athletics can easily coexist. What can’t seem to coexist at SMU are aesthetics and athletics. Athletics detracting from academics I have considered a fairly tiresome argument. Aesthetics versus athletics is a fresher and more dynamic concern. The design of college stadiums might draw some comment from architecture critics or university faithful, but I cannot recall anywhere when aesthetics were so pummeled by athletics. This university architectural site plan came on a campus that has long been ranked high in the nation for its beauty, SMU is also a university that hs one of the nation’s best art schools. Now, right across from the plaza of the art school is an indoor practice football field that hugs the curb of Bishop Boulevard. Whether it is SMU's performing arts, studio arts or art history, the Meadows School of the Arts raises the aesthetic sensibility of every student on campus. The visually and emotionally deadening effect of a monstrous indoor football practice field lowers the aesthetic awareness and expectations of every student. I always knew SMU could survive their athletic death penalty as the sanctions would go away and the teams would rebuild. But how can SMU aesthetics survive this athletic assault? I wish the NCAA could issue aesthetic sanctions on SMU and deny them building permits for the next 30 years. The only hope is, just like the oversized homes from the 1980s and 1990s that are being torn down, this building too will be torn down in the not too distant future. *Practice Makes Perfect #AcademicsVersusAthletics #ArchitecturalTravesty #SMU #BishopBoulevard #SMUArts #SMUArtSchool #Design #Dallas #UniversityPark #AthleticsAssaultsAesthetics #Aesthetics.

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