Letter to the editor: Packer Hall (the University Center) to be renovated again…?

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This is good news. Lifestyles and culture change, the campus grows, and sometimes the buildings have to change with us.

As it was noted in an article in The Brown and White April 8, the UC is “the face” of Lehigh, and has held its unique Gothic exterior for 150 years, and even through the 1960 addition on the south, or mountain, side. That was a brilliant addition for, as Dr. Yates notes, the administrators “(took) care to preserve many of the lineaments of the original structure.”

Life moves on, but we can still respect the great old building. I would suggest there are two key aesthetic points about it: its Gothicness, and its rectangularity. We should keep in mind that the UC will always have some inherent limitations, no matter what we do, but that we can venerate the building and work within these parameters.

The proposed rectangular additions on the south face seem logical, therefore. Perhaps even a Gothic portico can be emplaced on the third floor? A homage of sorts to the lost portico of the original Linderman.  In any event, I hope we can understand that Mr. Packer devoted much to making his original building a unique and substantial work of Gothic architecture.

– John G. Lewis, ’90, New London, NH

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