Much as Irvine is a young city (see my last post), UCI is a young campus. Established in 1965, the campus has many aspects rooted in the era of its creation.
Rumors abound that campus architecture was designed, in part, to discourage sit-ins and protests. Many of the buildings do not have direct access from the main pedestrian thoroughfare (the Ring Road), nor do they have large entryways. The exterior panels emblematic of William Pereira‘s futuristic style lend a certain fortress-like appearance to the campus’ original buildings.
CC licensed photo courtesy of Calsidyrose
Another source of rumors that betray our 60s roots is the system of tunnels built underground throughout the campus. People have all kinds of crazy theories (such as their use as a faculty escape hatch in case of riots), but our Facilities Management department will tell you that they are merely conduits for large pipes and lots of wiring. Few people have authorized access to the tunnels, and attempting to get in and explore them has been a student tradition for decades. Occasionally, special groups are given tours of the tunnels, as was the case when UCI hosted the UC Computing Services Conference in 2003. See their gallery of photos here. As you’ll see in some of the photos, the writing on the walls is proof that students have, indeed, found their way in.
For you Tolkien fans, I’ve saved the best for last. One of the dorms which may be used for IALLT2011 is called Middle Earth. This dorm was not actually built until the 70s, and the name was chosen by its first residents. The buildings were constructed in two phases, and a committee of students and staff researched and recommended names for the different halls.
For a full list, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.
That’s it for this flashback to the 60s….