University of Cincinnati Tower


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The Ronald F. Walker Tower is intended to be an icon for the University of Cincinnati and a monument acknowledging the many contributions of the Sigma Sigma Fraternity. Urbanistically, the tower helps to establish a formal entrance to the new Commons from University Avenue, as well as to mark a memorable place for the university community. To this end, employing a design technique of totemic origins, the design stacks varied elements that legibly symbolize the university and the fraternity. Firmly set on its cast in situ concrete base, the tower forms the university’s monogram, representing the institution’s foundational role.

Above, a shaft of dark wood, polished metal, and precast concrete convey the fraternity’s symbols, the hammer and the Greek letters -- or labor and the culture of Occident. On top, a lantern of perforated stainless steel construction stands for enlightenment and knowledge, the ultimate goal of the school and its people. While the legibility of these symbols by those who belong to this community is important, the arcane opacity the tower produces in those who do not know or belong is equally important to us. We would like to believe that the effect the tower produces in others outside -- this enigmatic, strange perhaps even more seductive effect, the shear result of form and materials and light longing to attain beauty -- is equally memorable.

Year: 1996-1998
Client:
University of Cincinnati
Location:
Cincinnati, Ohio

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