SULLIVAN BAKER | Our Campus is an Architectural Hodgepodge. We Should Treasure It.

Cornellians crave order. Our campus teems with neurotic overachievers who meticulously plan their days, their semesters and their careers. But Cornell, an inherently disorderly institution, often leaves these order-seekers wanting. Cornell’s disorganization might be most evident in its campus landscape; to the chagrin of many, the buildings that form the East Hill skyline are a seemingly incoherent mishmash of architectural styles. But we should value Cornell’s architectural hodgepodge, as it reflects our identity as a “non-pretentious college,” (as historian Morris Bishop ’13, Ph.D. ’26 put it), and embodies the once-radical principles that have guided the university for more than 150 years.

The Rise and Fall of Buildings in The Dollhouse

There are some pieces that are instantly fun to look at — The Dollhouse by Heather Benning, though only viewed through photographs by us, is one of them. With its whimsical nature of retro and vintage furnishings and solid pastel paint jobs, the larger-than-life exhibition piece is what its name indicates: a dollhouse, though perhaps much bigger than the ones we used to have as children. Built from 2005 to 2007 from a narrowly shaped abandoned building on the plains of Manitoba, Canada, Benning’s house stood starkly alone for six years before being burned down by her. On one side, the building seems entirely normal — old, slightly derelict and covered in dark and worn shingles. But on the other side, a transparent wall replaces the entire side, giving a clean cut view into the home, which was refurnished and renovated with care to resemble a dollhouse.