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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Self lauds new KU basketball practice facility

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Equipment is moved into the new men's basketball practice facility Monday, Aug. 24, 2009.

Kansas University’s new basketball practice facility is open for business.

The Jayhawks held individual workout drills in the building Monday — the third day of first semester.

“I think all our players were totally impressed by it,” KU coach Bill Self said of the structure, which is connected to the west side of Allen Fieldhouse.

“The design of it is absolutely perfect for the space we have. It looks good, has a good feel to it. It’ll be a huge asset to our program.”

The media will be taken on a tour of the building later this week.

“The best thing is it’s ours and the women’s,” Self said of KU’s women’s team. “It’s connected. We won’t have to walk outside (in the winter). We won’t have the facility conflicts we had in the past, though we always found a way to work it out. This is great. It’s tremendous for our present players and future players.”

The building is air-conditioned.

“The temperature was 20 degrees cooler than in the fieldhouse now,” Self said.

The actual center court from the 2008 Final Four is mounted on the practice facility’s west wall, as well as a scoreboard.

“Kansas Jayhawks” is scripted in Trajan font on the south wall as well as five national championship banners.

The north wall features two second-floor balconies from which Self and women’s coach Bonnie Henrickson can see the new floor by simply exiting their offices.

“It should,” Self said, asked if the facility would help in recruiting. “I’d think they (prospects) would be impressed as well.”

Renovations to Wagnon Student Athlete Center and Parrott Athletic Center will be completed by the Oct. 16 Late Night in the Phog. Other renovations include a student-athlete support wing on the front of Anschutz Pavilion, new locker rooms for soccer, volleyball and softball and new administrative offices. The men’s and women’s basketball teams and opposing teams will have newly renovated locker rooms in the fieldhouse.

“We’re excited about Oct. 16,” Self said of Late Night and getting into the tradition-rich fieldhouse.

• Swine flu worries: Self is concerned about the risk of swine flu, not just to his players, but KU’s entire student body. In all, 47 of KU’s 27,000 students were presenting swine flu symptoms on Monday.

“It is a legitimate concern on all campuses. Suddenly everyone needs to take precautions on campus, in dormitories, wherever you are in contact with people,” Self said. “You have to do things recommended to do, to not put yourself in position to develop or catch it.

“We educate our players on things they can try to do to eliminate risks,” Self added. “A lot is as simple as hygiene. Always wash your hands, and do those sorts of things. We’ll totally address everything with them (players).”

• No. 1 prospect to visit: Brandon Knight, a 6-foot-3 senior point guard from Pine Crest High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., will make an official recruiting visit to KU for Late Night in the Phog, Rivals.com reported Monday.

Knight, who is Rivals.com’s No. 1-rated player, has set up in-home visits with KU, Kentucky and UConn. He’s also interested in Florida and Miami.

Comments

100 4 years, 11 months ago

Nice Late Night Choice, Brandon -- we look forward to seeing you.

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Dirk Medema 4 years, 11 months ago

Gotta luv it when a player comes to Late Night. Next to a Bill Self chat in their living room, recruiting doesn't get much better. Come on down Brandon!

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Aaron Carpenter 4 years, 11 months ago

That was a TOTALLY great article.

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waywardJay 4 years, 11 months ago

so let me get this correct.... we have woolridge already .... and now the overall number 1 is stopping by...and Harrison Barnes liked us alot from the AAU games..... Is self cooking up another HUGE freshman class or what ??

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hawkfan20 4 years, 11 months ago

Wow, did KU really lose 3000 students from last year? Not good. I can't believe we dropped from a shade over 30,000 to 27,000 in 1 school year.

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kushaw 4 years, 11 months ago

Waywardjay is onto something here. It really is amazing how many guys from the 2009 class could end up being at KU. KU will certainly IMO anyway have 4 scholarships to give. Point Guard, Big, and Wing/Slasher and the 4th would be another point guard or SG. Just like last year, even though it all worked out in the end, I hope we don't wait until the last minute to sign the "Best" player and get snubbed. We shall see, but let's take a look at the kids we have a legitimate shot at according to rivals. It's amazing how much different the Scout rankings are.......

1 Brandon Knight-There really is no difference IMO between Knight and Josh Selby. Both are taller point guards and it looks like Knight is better in the classroom. That's about it. I would take either one.

2 Harrison Barnes-Everybody knows about him. He sure would make a sweet signing and have Barnes and Releford (He will definitely replace little) as our slashing 3's.

4 Josh Selby-Like I said, taller point guard that is incredibly athletically gifted. Knight or Selby would be fine

7 Corey Joseph-I think he is out of the same High School as Elijah Johnson? Someone correct me on that. He is the 3rd ranked point guard in the class. Joseph and Jackson are the typcial guys that KU usually gets as point guards. We never get the #1 rated point guard in the class, but usually a Top 5 is always the way Self goes.

12 Joe Jackson-Smaller point guard that is determined like another guy who will be leading KU this year. Anybody know his name? LOL I love Collins and this Jackson kid is the real deal, but I would like to see a little taller point just to mix it up a bit. Would be thrilled for Jackson in a KU uniform

13 Terrance Johnson-Another 6'8 wing/slasher that will probably be in a KU uniform if the Barnes recruiting goes South, literally.

21 Doron Lamb-I think KU has a real chance of snatching this kid up. He would be a perfect compliment to the point guards above and have a 2 guard signing in the class of 2010

60 Ray McCallum-Apparently, Rivals has also gone sour on this kid like Royce Woolridge. He is a Top 25 for Scout and right behind Lamb, Jackson, and Joseph. I think he is a Russell Robinson mold. If that is the case, would love for him to be in a KU uniform.

I could see a point guard possibly two being signed in this class. We need a wing/slasher and as for bigs, I'm not really on the scoop for what we're doing with "Bigs" I know there are guys in the 2011 and 2012 classes, but besides Luke Cothron at #33, I'm not really sure who we are going after. Any help on the "Bigs" would be great?

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kushaw 4 years, 11 months ago

Oh, and by the way, I'm sure all the players above will enjoy the new practice facility when they visit. There, I stayed on task by mentioning the practice facility. Kudos to me!

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Chicago_JHawk 4 years, 11 months ago

hawkfan20 - The 27k is just the total on the Lawrence & Edwards campus. Total enrollment is about 30k when you factor in the Med school.

I'd like to see photos of the new space, not just the artist's rendering that's been posted previously.

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mjlindsm 4 years, 11 months ago

Never get the #1 PG? Weren't Chalmers and Collins both the #1 PGs in their class?

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oldalum 4 years, 11 months ago

Go to KUAthletics.com. Under the "revolving" picture, click on photo gallery. Usually on this site they have updated construction pictures for the whole area, but not lately.

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jarf 4 years, 11 months ago

Can you please stop using the word "Laud"

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JayCeph 4 years, 11 months ago

The interior shots look great (especially with the east side showing parts of AFH) but, I have to say the exterior is bit too 'tool shed' looking. IMHO

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NebraskaJayhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

mjlindsm,

Pretty sure Chalmers was. Don't think Collins was. I'm with kushaw though in that I would like to see a taller point. I love what Collins brings to the court, but Chalmers was not only a great offensive player, but a shut down defensive player. DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE

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Kusportsshould Notrequirethis 4 years, 11 months ago

Collins was ranked second behind Ty Lawson.

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Jaminrawk 4 years, 11 months ago

Aw hell. Brandon Knight showing up for Late Night just in time. "I'm afraid the new Phog Star will be quite operation when he and his family arrive ..." Ok that was nerdy but it should be an incredible sight for Brandon and his family.

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kushaw 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm not trying to start something here but here is what they were ranked according to Rivals. Rivals isn't the all be all of recruiting services, but they are the best known so we will use them for now. They are also one of the few that go back that far in history that keep their rankings.

Chalmers was the 4th ranked point guard behind

Monta Ellis Louis Williams Greg Paulus-Don't laugh because I think we all know Self wouldn't have recruited Paulus.

Ellis and Williams were legit though

As for Collins, he was the #5 ranked player coming out behind

Jarvaris Crittenton Ty Lawson Mike Conley Ramar Smith

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kushaw 4 years, 11 months ago

Also, something intersting is that Collins was number 21 and the #5 overall and DJ Augustin was #49 and the #6 rated PG. Makes you think. All those guys are in the NBA except Collins. Hopefully, next year he will.

I also agree with Jayceph about the exterior "Tool Shed" look. You have the arguably the best arena for college sports and you surround with a steel framed building. Perception is everything. LOL! Not that big of deal in the big picture.

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justanotherfan 4 years, 11 months ago

It should be noted that in Chalmers class (the last straight to the NBA class) both Ellis and Williams went straight to the NBA, while Paulus was, well insert your own Duke joke here.

As for Collins, Crittenton and Conley went to the NBA after one season in college.

So really, Chalmers was the #2 PG going to college that year (behind only Paulus) and Collins would have likely been the #3 PG going to college that year had the age limit not been in place.

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Tony Bandle 4 years, 11 months ago

Don't worry...HCBS has been busy. As I posted last week, KU has made five star offers to 4 guards, 2 forwards and a center from the class of 2010...Barnes, Lamb, Jackson, Knight and Payne to start, as well as 2 for 2011...Beal for sure, and, if not formal, I'm sure HCBS handed a prelim to Ellis in Wichita for 2012.

Throw in Woolridge next year and I think we're going to see a lot of changeover.

I think that, even though continued success is essential for strong recruiting, if...or should I say, when KU makes the Final Four run this upcoming season, a lot of kids will want to come on board.

One other thing...maybe the kids aren't too concerned about Coach Calimari's troubles, but I'll bet the Moms and Dads are!!

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jaybate 4 years, 11 months ago

jaybate news service:

Tuesdays on the Digital Kaw:

} Swineflu at KU? Good lord, what must be going on at the University of Arkansas?

} Regarding washing hands, it works. Do it. And don't rely solely on those antibacterial gel dispensers, when in medical offices and hospitals. Scrub with soap and rinse thoroughly.

} New Men's Basketball Facility--even the talented Nick Krug can't find a photogenic angle on this addition done in equipment shed form language. Apprehension grips me regarding Wagnon Student Athlete Center and Parrott Athletic Center. Help me, help me, help me, OakvilleJHawk, I think I'm going insane! We are witnessing a new movement: equipment shed functionalism. This is just not an authentic expression of KU basketball practice. It doesn't even hint at the function of the building. It looks like it ought to be in a light industrial park with a tenant like UINCO OFFICE CABINETS, or something. I'm all for practicality and function, but no windows? Surely there could be some windows with shutters, or curtains, to keep the prying eyes out when necessary. I used to love looking up at the windows in Allen Field House when playing pick up games in the summer time. What is the practice facility supposed to be? A Skinner Box? Gitmo on the Kaw? We're talking about the greatest game ever invented here! It is a fun game to play. It is even a fun game to practice. Can't it have a fun place to be played in?

} It is wonderful that all this great talent wants to visit KU. Show them Jayhawk Boulevard and the field house, before they see the practice facility. Or else blind fold them as they come in, then take the blind folds off in front of the good stuff inside this new practice facility. It is a testament to the uninspired blandness of the exterior that Coach Self--the ultimate positive thinker--can find nothing about the outside to mention and must praise the air-conditioning. Please, architecture god, start smiling on KU again as soon as you can.

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Tony Bandle 4 years, 11 months ago

Jaybate, my thoughts exactly....I was hoping that the photos were from a new industrial park on the west side erroneously inserted in as part of the article.

Well, there is something to say about consistency since all the modifications at the garage connector area suck as well.

I am floored that, given the dynamic configuration and fenestration of Allen Fieldhouse as a backdrop, they manage to NOT INCORPRATE ONE LOUSY DESIGN ELEMENT TO TIE IT ALL TOGETHER!!!!!!

Please, all who go to KU games, do not judge the KU Architectural School by what you see here!!!!

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Waylon Cook 4 years, 11 months ago

The whole thing isn't complete yet please leave your judgement for then. VISION........

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tstanlick1909 4 years, 11 months ago

kushaw, i didnt run out and check about corey joseph, so i could be wrong, but he attends findlay prep. the same as avery bradley, and not the one that EJ went to. also, self is heavily recruiting adrein payne as a center

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jaybate 4 years, 11 months ago

onlyoneUinKansas,

Here is the problem with your request. OakvilleJHawk can be articulate, because he is a professional architect, whereas I am an amateur who must grope for the essense of what is wrong. As he said, "they manage to not incorporate one lousy design element to tie it all together!!!!!!" It is just not realistic of you to think that when the basketball practice building is At this point, when the basketball practice building is already finished, that some how they are going to tie it into the field house architecture sometime in the future. When they finished the practice building, they officially missed their chance at tying in even one design element. It is already time to concede the architectural opportunity has been missed and begin talking about how to avoid this sort of mistake in the future.

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milehighhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

leave it to JayBait to waste hundreds of words judging a book by its cover

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jayhawkinmullen 4 years, 11 months ago

Oh boy all this uninspired architecture is going to kill our recruiting, as we all know that recruits are looking for one thing out of a program and that is amazing architecture. Well it looks like we will be missing out on Harrison Barnes, man and all because of architecture. Who's next?

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100 4 years, 11 months ago

  1. According to the University of Kentucky student health clinic, 208 unconfirmed cases of swine flu have been reported since the start of the school year. Thats a lot of throw up. Which leads me to wonder... Did Calipari bring his dirty fat disease infested friend with him to Lexington?

  2. Chalmers absolutely was the #1 rated point guard for nearly all four years of his high school career. We all knew about him way in advance. Now, if someone is googling this, they might see a "last minute" change that was made four years ago in the final release, but let's keep in mind Chalmers was confirmed to KU at least a year in advance, so the scouting services typically will let a signed player drop a few spots if a bunch of undeclared kids close to his position are fighting like pit bulls for a high last minute ranking. Keep in mind too, as it was noted above -- these were different times -- kids in this class with a high enough ranking could swell their heads big enough to dream of making a jump to the NBA (only to ride a lonely bench for two years while texting their old high school friends about how "great it is to be an 18 year old in the League").

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Kent Wells 4 years, 11 months ago

Brandon Knight was just quoted as saying "I just wont play at a school that uses Trajan font." Also, Joe Jackson is apparently reconsidering KU due to "the lack of inspiring tapestries in the practice facility."

Jayhawkinmullen, nice to see internet is back up and working in Leavenworth.

But seriously folks, did you look at the link for the photos that onlyoneUinKansas posted??? The INSIDE of the building looks really cool. The floor from San Antonio looks great. Wouldn't it be great to see another floor on the other end of the building!

Oakville... Can you maybe design up something in your spare time to fix? Is there something you can spray over the metal siding to make it look less like a place where they shoot porn movies in LA? Not that I know what those buildings look like.

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Waylon Cook 4 years, 11 months ago

I think the video I saw of the WHOLE facility is great. I can't wait until its done. I remember when the football facility was being built and "fans" on message boards ripped into it. Saying things like "its not big enuff" "not fancy like A & M and OU". How did it turn out? Seems like recruits love it and it has impacted it. The locker rooms and clubhouses are country club like for the bball teams. Its going to be great in the end. I am so glad we have people like Lew and Self in charge. No more catching up, we are setting the standard.

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Tony Bandle 4 years, 11 months ago

kuwells

LOL ....very good, that's even a better comparision than a warehouse!! A possible solution that would also provide some spark without breaking the bank would be to "Muralize" the exterior with paintings of significant KU icons, moments and symbols.You could actually give it a three-dimensional architectonic look to match Allen Fieldhouse.

jayhawkinmullen

The point that Jaybate and I are trying to make is that this structure not only is unattractive in itself, it brings down the look of Allen which is singularly unique in appearance.

Frank Lloyd Wright summed it up beautifully..." God is in the details'. This has nothing to do about recruits or basketball. It has to do with our environment, our perception of life around us. When we stop caring about the "outside', just how long do you think before the "inside" follows?

The world including Lawrence and the KU campus is filled with "who cares" exteriors. It's losing the opportunity to do the thing right that is the true sadness.

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JayCeph 4 years, 11 months ago

I find it amusing that nobody thinks aesthetics are important (now) but if changes were proposed to alter the facade of AFH (proper) and they didn't conform to the architectural integrity of the original structure, there would be angry mobs with torches running up and down Naismith Drive screaming for the head of the bureaucrat that neglected to consider a monumental detail such as the look of the exterior of the building.

Tell you what, I got a new arm for you and it will help you do your job better and the mechanics of it are really keen but, the exterior looks like a chorizo sausage dripping with buttered onions. What? You don't like how it looks? Who cares? It 'functions' properly.

Design in the one necessity nobody acknowledges until after something looks like crap. Sacrifice a little time and save a lot of grace.

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100 4 years, 11 months ago

Architecturally speaking, the original exterior of the Jayhawk Hall of Fame didn't match Allen at all.

Then a bunch of people got mad & a Jayhawk donor stepped up with some Rock Chalk Limestone & some John Woodenesque concrete pourers...

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KU1992 4 years, 11 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong. but isn't it the new facility behind the field house anyway. I think it is probably not even that noticeable. and people will be coming into the building from the north anyway.

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jayhawkinmullen 4 years, 11 months ago

Kuwells,

It's Hooker county not leavenworth, get it right "jerk".

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Kent Wells 4 years, 11 months ago

Jeez, jayhawkinmullen, I told you I would bake a cake with a file in it.

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jayhawkinmullen 4 years, 11 months ago

onlyoneuinkansas,

Thanks for that, wow it really looks like it will blow people and especially recruits away when it is all done. I was not too impressed with the locker rooms though I wish they would have done more oh well say la ve.

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Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 11 months ago

As a fan of all disciplines of architecture, I only have one regret. That is that AFH couldn't have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. This would have insured that alterations and improvements be limited and monitored by those who protect and preserve the glory days of arhitecture in this country. Functionality and flexibility has its place. But, for purists of the art of design, there is room for diversity only when the segregation of styles is strict. The convenience of a practice facility being attached to AFH shouldn't dilute the original structure. Pains were taken when the roof was replaced and the final elevations of the Booth Hall are less at odds with the original structure,etc. Where I live, there is a church from aprox. 1910 that was being razed to make way for a Chik-fil-a. The community got together and affected the preservation of one of the existing exterior walls, windows and all, so the neighborhood would not lose it's original identity. They incorporated the 1910 architecture with the 2009 fast-food "architecture?"and it works. I hope donors, etc. don't ruin AFH over the next 100 years to the point of it only becoming a memory and a shadow of it's original glory.

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Waylon Cook 4 years, 11 months ago

Mullen, I think the whole place has a country club feel(aka high end). I am not sure how much more you want out of a locker room lol.

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jaybate 4 years, 11 months ago

memhawk,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts above, plus a positive example. Criticism comes easy, positive examples are harder to find. And yet they are crucial for helping ordinary persons and high-ups take such issues into account in the future.

When one looks at communities that have a humane sense of community and a corresponding architecture--beauty and function combined in rational balance--one finds both an awareness and an expectation of beauty and function combined with rational balance suffused through out the community, not just in one socio-economic stratum (class) or another. Achieving this awareness and expectation should be our goal for Jayhawk nation.

Chancellor/developers, architects and contractors will give whatever is expected, as profitably as possible (substitute "surplus" for profit in the public sector), if the penalty of failing to give what is expected, is to be marginalized from further projects and to lose a piece of their current fee. It is their nature. It is well worth making their fee contingent on delivering fulfilled expectation of design plans. But this still means that there has to be a design plan worthy of fulfillment.

Architect/designers in turn design with an eye toward what will be accepted. They like to innovate. They like to do good work that will be praised. They like to be path finders and problems solvers with elegance. But they cannot get paid, if their work is unaccepted. So: Jayhawk nation, from the Chancellor to little Johnny in a Jayhawk shirt are to significant degree gate keepers of the feasibly acceptable, even after one takes into account all of the graft and corruption that goes into building such buildings.

It is, therefore, incumbent on Jayhawk nation to educate itself from top to bottom on what does and does not work in architecture (both in function and in looks), so that a skilled architect/designer enters thinking the community standards are high enough to embrace what he is trying to do, and that they will call him on the carpet, when he is, like any other professional from time to time, not quite on top of his game.

Notice that no architecture firm is stepping forward and bragging on this addition? Notice that no architectural awards are being given it?

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jaybate 4 years, 11 months ago

The powers that be apparently knew from the beginning that this was a hurry up project that was to be "value engineered." Maybe this had to be, because Coach Self was desparate to get something--anything--in place to help recruiting and the troops now. Fine. So tell the Jayhawk nation that and tell them what the long term plan is. How exactly will this interim structure, this practice facility equivalent of a beer distributorship warehouse, be altered, or replaced, and when?

Buildings are one of three things: a) permanent fixtures (i.e., constantly rehabbed to be preserved) of our developed landscape that order our activities and fill us with a sense of pride and place and dignity; or b) 30 to 50 year mistakes that erode pride and place and dignity, or c) inconspicous boxes that almost no one notices.

Adding effective buildings is never easy. They are complicated things and they have complicated linkages with surroundings that must work, not just look good, or, alternatively, not just look good, but work.

Adding effective buildings always confronts an inevitable argument: should we make it look just like what came before; or should we strike out anew?

There will always be sensible arguments for both. The rational choice is rarely one or the other, but some where on the continuum between the two. But where ever the choice is made along the continuum, by the school, the architects, the contractors, and the Jayhawk nation, the choice has to, as a minimum, promise to yield a building that does work and look good, regardless of whether it is "just like what we've done before," or "is something largely unprecedented," or some combination.

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jaybate 4 years, 11 months ago

The problem with the practice facility is that it only works for basketball practice. It is air-conditioned and it has an enclosed hallway with the field house, so the players don't have to deal with extreme weather. But the look of the building commits just about every sin a building can make, and tries to cover up for it by trying to look unobtrusive. It wears its beige and off white siding not like colors, but like camouflage. It wants to be inconspicous, but is big enough, and attached to something so beloved, and respected, that it cannot be inconspicous.

A decision was clearly made up front that no one had the vision, the money, the time, or the will to do a good building, i.e., one that worked and looked good, only a building that worked and looked as inconspicous as possible.

To see the terribleness of this sort of thinking, imagine if Coach Self looked at the KU basketball team and said, "We're going to make the best team we can, but screw the uniforms. Screw the Jayhawk emblem at center court, screw the colors crimson and blue. We don't have time to think about any of that stuff. Screw it. The uniforms will be beige and off white. T-shirts and shorts. I don't want to think about how to make the clashing colors of crimson and blue work together. Design elements will have to be carried through tops and bottoms and warm ups and travel bags...fuggeddaboutit!! We'll have to have a designer that actually knows what he or she is doing to do that, and that will cost money. And it will raise all sorts of complaints from alums and fans, too. Some will want the uniforms to look like the old ones and others will want the uniforms to look contemporary. Lew and I don't want to think about it. Screw it! As long as the shorts cover the family jewels, and the tops leave room for arm movement, who cares what the uniforms look like?! And that stupid bird out on the floor. Enough already. Get the brother-in-law of the builder--I think he's some out of work house painter--have him paint a stick figure version of the Jayhawk at center court. It doesn't matter. ESPN will televise the games here even if there were nothing at center court but sweat.

And so on.

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jaybate 4 years, 11 months ago

Oh, you can make the analogy that practice uniforms are plain and so the practice building ought to be plain, too. Well, I don't know about you, but the practice uniforms have always seemed elegant in their simplicity, not mundane. And they certainly take nothing away from the game uniforms, the way this addition of the practice facility significantly compromises the beauty of Allen Field House by apparently lacking, as OakvilleJHawk notes, even one common design element.

To not care about the practice facility's appearance, or to just make it as bland as possible, is a failure of vision, something that plagues our society in many, many fields of enterprise and activity today. But failure of vision is something that has almost never plagued KU basketball.

Phog Allen was a visionary. It was part of his genius that made him great and controversial and not occassionally despised. He advocated a giant football stadium echoing the recent Olympic stadium, when there was no reason to think one was needed in a small eastern Kansas town.

He devised dimensions to the game of basketball in coaching and playing that no one even dreamed were needed, because he foresaw it, whether others did or not.

He advocated for a giant basketball arena at a time when something of the size on a college campus was practically unthinkable for most.

Allen Field House itself was visionary, despite it being full of rational compromises in the search for a trade-off between doing what had been done before architecturally and doing something largely unprecedented.

AFH was a mixed use development before there was even a term for such things. It was a basketball facility, and indoor football practice facility, and an indoor track facility, and a national guard armory for the nuclear age of American Empire (i.e., it would hold the refugees not only of floods but the nuclear holocaust and be a base of operations for the guard should the Russians come).

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jaybate 4 years, 11 months ago

It was modern and old. It had the geometric massing and windows of modernism, the material fenestration of Frank Lloyd Wrights kind of mis-named modernism (his work was actually a logical extension of Sullivans functionalism in 20th Century technologies more than true modernism), but it also had the pitched roof of a barn that any one with an ounce of Midwestern practicality knew was essential for a building that would have a dirt floor topped with a portable wooden basketball court. Leaking ceilings in a flat building of this building footprint would have been very problematic.

AFH was a brilliant bastard of a building, more engineered than architected, that shocked everyone, and pleased few in the beginning, but finally overwhelmed everyone with its monumentality, its rational trade off between what had come before and what was new, on its versatility, and on the sheer joy of experience that it brought to those that sat in it stomping the metal loge flooring, while cheering for KU basketball.

And as a tip of the hat to existing architecture on the campus, AFH, if I recall correctly, had a reddish roof that continued a design element connecting it to some of the buildings over on the hill. And as time unfolded Learned Hall and the music building and Robinson Gym tied into it to create a modestly coherent architectural regime within this part of the campus.

But the new practice facility, while echoing the colors of all these buildings has no red roof that I can see. It is not pitched. It has no structural design elements carried through from the field house, at all.

And it has no vision. It is instantly obsolete. It is the basketball equivalent of those mobile classrooms built when there aren't enough funds to build real buildings and that are never taken down, because it becomes easier to endure them than build a real building; this will likely be the future of the new practice facility. We are stuck with it.

I am surprised that the Chancellor, Lew Perkins and Bill Self settled for this, even allowing for the expedients of use involved. Perhaps none of them expect to be around for very long and so only place value on the immediate utility of the building and nothing on its lasting contribution (or subtraction in this case) from the landmark that is Allen Field House.

So: what's the big deal, many will say? We are stuck with Wescoe and it was an abortion of an attempt at campus brutalism. At least the practice addition is not horrible, high brow brutalism, right? Right. And life goes on, right?

Right.

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jaybate 4 years, 11 months ago

But Allen Field House is now cheapened by connection, just as Wescoe cheapened the adjacent architecture of Jayhawk Boulevard. It wasn't so much that it was a different architectural style, it was that it was a horrible example of that different architectural style (but I digress over old bones to pick).

So what, you say? We still have the field house and that is all that really matters. The legacy of the field house will continue, right?

Wrong.

By appending the architectural equivalent of a piece of crap to Allen Field House, the powers that be have betrayed that Allen Field House's days are now numbered. It is not part of the long term plan. Allen Field House is now an interim use. You don't build "value engineered" additions lacking vision and architectural continuity unless you are figuring the old field house is nearing the end of the line.

The powers that be, and their cronies and their brothers-in-laws, want a new field house so bad they can taste it. And because they want that new field house, they vetoed serious investment with vision in the old girl that is Allen Field House.

They want a 20 thousand plus field house with a lot more corporate boxes.

They want to save one wall, or part of one wall, of Allen Field House, and integrate it into a vast new structure of as yet unknown virtue. They want to play the season under construction in Sprint Center.

By further undoing the architectural integrity of Allen Field House, but more importantly by abandoning further imbuing of Allen Field House with grand vision, they have consigned Allen Field House to the past in the not too distant future.

When the economics finally permit it, Allen Field House will be gone, because the powers that be, and the cronies, and their brothers-in-laws, see a development opportunity with a lot of hog factors (fees in the real estate biz) for everyone.

But will they produce a visionary building of the likes of Allen Field House?

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jaybate 4 years, 11 months ago

Or will they have only the expectations of hollow men, of straw men, and produce a Dean Dome, or a Cameron Indoor Events Center, or some other incredibly scalar expansion of the ordinary?

Such a great new visionary building can, of course, be made on the campus, if Allen Field House cannot fulfill our needs (though I still believe AFH can, if men and women of vision and an an informed Jayhawk nation insist on modifications to AFH that respect and enhance its function and looks).

There are architects our there of great skill today who could do a great job replacing AFH. Renzo Piano is my favorite. He has just finished replacing the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park with a magnificient, visionary building that incorporates a wall of the old building. Renzo Piano practices what I call "engineered functionalism," a kind of architecture that has a form language not far from modernist that reveals not only what every thing is made of, but also how everything is assembled. It gives his buildings an fanstastic authenticity. They not only look like what they are made from, they look like how they are assembled. IMHO Piano foreshadows one brilliant path where I believe architecture can proceed to.

But there are many others, too.

The problem is that even the greatest architect cannot duplicate the history of the space (of what has happened in the place) of Allen Field House, any more than the engineer builders of Allen Field House could duplicate the history of the space of Hoch Auditorium. Much of the greatness of what happened to KU basketball in the early years has been diminished, because we know long view the game in the same venue that that early history occurred inside. KU basketball in AFH is a qualitatively, not just a quantitatively different experience. KU's basketball legacy truncates and restarts some what in 1957 because of the then new field house. Something was lost. Something was gained.

"To every season turn, turn, turn..."

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jaybate 4 years, 11 months ago

The crucial thing to remember is that whenever KU does decide to move beyond Allen Field House, something lasting must be gained, something more than just a bigger revenue stream (though bigger revenue streams and more access to watching the team is great) has be started. A visionary building has to replace a visionary building. And vision is so much more than more seats. Vision deals with what a thing, or activity, can become. KU basketball is a living myth. The question is not how can we get more seats and more corporate boxes. Any dunce can do that. The question is how do we build a field house one day that not only has more seats and revenue capability, but also creates a symbiosis between the space and the living myth that allows the living myth to be what it can become and what it ought to become. The visionary realm of architecture and action is elusive, but it is what KU basketball requires and deserves, both to continue to be what it always has been to the game, and to become in the future what only men and women of vision realize it can become.

The pedestrian addition of the practice facility to a great building like Allen Field House does not encourage me that men and women of vision are driving anything at all right now in regards to building at KU.

But this can change.

Phog Allen was a visionary for a people who shared his vision.

Perhaps there is another such man.

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Waylon Cook 4 years, 11 months ago

Lew Perkins and Self have damn good vision too. Its 2009 and the Fieldhouse is only better than it once was. Phog is not rolling over in his grave, he is smiling down on us!

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KGphoto 4 years, 11 months ago

OMG jaybate it's official!!

You've broken Usain Bolt's world record. Going away!

Based on sheer volume posted within 5 minutes, I must say...

That... was.......... A W E S O M E!!!!!

Unfortunately I'm going to have to read it over a series of logins, or my legs will fall asleep, so I'll get back to you on the content. I'm looking forward to it though. You were in the zone man!

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Scott Smetana 4 years, 11 months ago

Jaybate.. I thought it looked ok, but after skimming your post, I'm ready to grab my picket sign to protest. You're the man.

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Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 11 months ago

Jaybate:

I guess then we are in agreement?

Afterthoughts by Memhawk:

The State of Kansas funds the university and therefore should have the ultimate responsibility for the efficiency and effectiveness of the funds spent to maintain and improve the physical property. How many buildings in the state of Kansas deserve to be preserved and maintained to as close to the original structure as AFH? Well, there's the capitol building in Topeka, there's ........can't think of another one off of the capus at KU. Who really cares about any building in Manhattan anyway!

The architect who designed those FEMA trailers that they haul around the country for post-disaster housing couldn't have come up with a more inappropriate addition to the KU campus, let alone an ancillary part of AFH.

You, Jaybate, have failed to see the reality in modern public buildings of this era. They are a mirror of our society. The disposable, replaceable nature of today's new buildings, whether sports venues, commercial developments, and even housing denotes a society where everything is depreciated based on it's useful lifespan as dictated by charts and estimates. Shame on us for allowing this to have sneaked up on us!

Don't forget those insightful lyrics.....pave paradise, put up a parking lot.

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Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 11 months ago

Forgot about this afterthought,

If the new wave of construction is to "go green", it will be awfully interesting in 30 years when these new buildings are replaced due to apathy and the waste that will be rampant will have offest the good that was to have been accomplished in the process of sustainability.

The only things that went green at AFH were the trough urinals that have now been replaced!

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jayhawk2062 4 years, 11 months ago

I think they should put at limit on consecutive posts.....that's a bit ridiculous. Then again, it is jaybate.

Examples: Republicans = Lies

             Jaybate = Terminal Boredom

9 days until FOOTBALL!!!!!! I cannot wait.

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jaybate 4 years, 11 months ago

God I loved those trough urinals.

A boy could measure his progress to manhood, so to speak, year by year, when he could during each new season stand shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of pissing and farting males as near to heaven as they were going to get on earth...watching college basketball in Allen Field House. All men are grateful and relieved standing at a urinal and it makes them much more pleasant to share space with than at about any other time once can think of.

And yes, every other guy's johnson looked bigger than mine, as I glanced down the trough right and left.

Never was I so relieved as to learn from a psychology book that this was just an optical allusion many men experience.

By god, give me a trough urinal and standing shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of solid KU men and that will last me through any summer of recruiting speculation. :-)

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jaybate 4 years, 11 months ago

jayhawk2062,

You're too quick for me!

Where did ewe learn that there formalizin' in English.

Whoooooweeee, you must be a smart one. :-)

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Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 11 months ago

Reminds me of the Richard Pryor joke:

Two guys were walking across a bridge. They stopped to take a leak into the river below. The first guy, while hanging his manhood over the rail bragged.."that water down there sure is cold" The second guy, not to be "out-manned", replied.."Yeah, and its deep too!

Long live Mudbone!

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Tony Bandle 4 years, 11 months ago

"Sustainability"...the new buzz word for this decade. Let me give you one professional's opinion;

"Sustainability" is a noble endeavor but a myth none the less while current construction standards, materials and labor practices remain in place.

"Leeds", the formalization of sustainability in some quantitative regulated form is a bureaucratic, money-making scam.

"Green" has been, is and always will be, not about the environment..it will be about the money.

Those that ignore history are doomed to repeat it and every day, the USA resembles the decline of the Roman Empire more and more.

On these happy notes, at least we have the Hawks!!!!!

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Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 11 months ago

True on all counts OakvilleJHawk.

It's all about tax credits and grants.

Just look at the whole compact fluorescent light bulb debacle. Where is the common sense here. Try to dispose of one legally!

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JayCeph 4 years, 11 months ago

jaybate, how I love to discuss aesthetics with you. Nice post, btw.

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jaybate 4 years, 11 months ago

JayCeph,

You are as usual so kind. Thank you.

I really do not mean to disparage any individual involved in building the addition. They probably did the very best they could under the circumstances of the budgetary uncertainties of a state, a federal government and a nation in the throes of a Great Stagflation.

I mean instead to change the circumstances (to expand the tests of contextual fit of design solutions) for the future. I mean to contribute to a sports culture, wherein persons like the Chancellor, Lew Perkins, Bill Self, and others far less public, but more influential in what is actually built, can bring the same kind of good taste and skillful professionalism and successful action to AFH and beyond, that they have recently brought in enormous quantity and quality to KU basketball.

Bottom line, if Coach Self says it does the job for basketball (and he does), then great. If he needed it quickly, for his players to practice in this year (and he implied as much during his decline of the OSU discussions), then shed-siding, or concrete tilt-up was certainly the way to go.

But, again, what is the long term solution?

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