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Burdell’s Building Bracket: First Round, Day One

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It’s Center Campus and North Campus here on the true opening day of competition for the best building in Midtown.

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Shirley Clements Mewborn Field - Softball
Purdue Athletics

I know that the campus doesn’t split evenly into four sectors, so we’ll make do with me drawing some arbitrary lines to fit roughly sixteen important buildings into each sector. Day one features favorites from Tech Tower and the Student Center to a big chunk of Tech’s athletic facilities, fittingly for a Georgia Tech sports blog.


Welcome back to the biggest little bracket challenge anywhere in the business. For a refresher, here’s the bracket: First Round TECH.pdf. Note: all buildings in the historic district will be referred to by their construction name, if appropriate (see: Aaron French Textile Building, now home to various international programs and such).

Bracket After First Four.
Jake Grant

First Round, Day One:

Center Campus:

No. 1 Lettie Pate Whitehead Administrative Building (Tech Tower) vs. No. 16 William Vernon Skiles Classroom Building

Tech Tower:

This one is self explanatory, so I won’t mince words. There’s sixteen illuminated letters on the top, and one of Tech’s most prized-but-unlawful traditions is to take the T closest to the highway, in order around the tower, until they are all gone. Tech’s oldest building is worth a history column on its own, but nowadays houses gorgeous administrative offices, thanks to a recent renovation. Tech would not be the same without its crowning icon, which remains the de facto, if not de jure height limit for buildings on campus.

Skiles:

It’s old. It looks out of place. At least it’s made out of red brick (looking at you, West Village). However, almost every student at Tech gets at least one class in it, making it iconic, and it is named after one of Tech’s most iconic deans, from back when all Tech’s buildings were named after historically important figures, rather than after who wrote their biggest check. The Mickey Mouse clock is fun, and before its walkway became known as Tech Walkway, was famous for that, too. But it really needs a lot of love and attention. And to have water fountains in the inner hallways so they can be turned on in the winter.

Poll

No. 1 Lettie Pate Whitehead Administrative Building vs. No. 16 William Vernon Skiles Classroom Building

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Tech Tower
    (108 votes)
  • 14%
    Skiles:
    (18 votes)
126 votes total Vote Now

No. 8 Cpt. Lyman Hall Chemistry Laboratory vs. No. 9 Aaron French Textile Building

Hall Hall:

It is my firm belief that Lyman Hall is the most under-appreciated figure in Tech’s history. He literally worked himself to death on the job raising funds for the chemistry lab that would eventually bear his name. Now, it is home to administration and lives in the shadow of the west stands of Bobby Dodd Stadium

A. French Building:

It was a wonderful textile building when it was built thanks to a surprising donation by Pittsburgh mill baron Aaron French finagled by its slightly younger neighbor’s namesake, Lyman Hall, at the behest of Georgia industrialists like Macon’s John Hanson that Tech serve the needs of the state - hence, textile engineering. It served its original purpose until the waning days of World War II, when it was replaced by the Hightower Building on what is now Tech Green, and the A. French Building is now perhaps even more fittingly home to the Atlanta offices of Georgia Tech Lorraine in this battle of next door neighbors on Uncle Heinie Way.

Poll

No. 8 Cpt. Lyman Hall Chemistry Laboratory vs. No. 9 Aaron French Textile Building

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Hall Hall:
    (59 votes)
  • 48%
    A. French Building:
    (55 votes)
114 votes total Vote Now

No. 5 Robert Ferst Center for the Arts vs. No. 12 Blake R. Van Leer Building

Ferst Center:

It’s a nice theater. It was just renovated, though, to be honest, I can’t say I’ve stopped by since it reopened. One of the few places to find the arts here on the Flats does its job acceptably.

Van Leer:

It’s not as sad as most people think it is, especially now that it has Tech’s newest maker’s space, the Hive. The front may be ugly, and the classrooms may smell kind funny, and it’s always so dang hot, but it outclasses the Aerospace buildings and lets anyone with a hankering to return to the old days feel right at home with the retro 50s vibes. Though I’m not sure why anyone would really want that.

Poll

No. 5 Robert Ferst Center for the Arts vs. No. 12 Blake R. Van Leer Building

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Ferst Center:
    (71 votes)
  • 41%
    Van Leer:
    (50 votes)
121 votes total Vote Now

No. 4 Fred B. Wenn Student Center vs. No. 13 Montgomery Knight Aerospace Engineering Building (SST 2)

Student Center:

Soon to be Tech’s newest building, Wenn and its complex hosts such icons as Tech Rec bowling, Under the Couch, the Tech ballroom, the Post Office, and, of course Chick fil a, the greatest eating establishment known to man, except for all the better ones that are, ya know, off campus. But, as far Tech goes, it’s near the top.

Montgomery Knight:

It’s the AE building you know exists but never remember where, since it’s actually been built into Guggenheim. The AE equivalent of Van Leer-esque vibes lead to a compelling later round showdown, if given the option.

Poll

No. 4 Fred B. Wenn Student Center vs. No. 13 Montgomery Knight Aerospace Engineering Building (SST 2)

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Student Center:
    (88 votes)
  • 24%
    Montgomery Knight:
    (28 votes)
116 votes total Vote Now

No. 6 Charles A. Smithgall Jr. Student Services Building vs. No. 11 D. M. Smith Physics Building

Flag Building:

This is one of those buildings everyone knows but rarely do they go into. A nice little Tech tradition is that Smithgall raises a flag for every nation students from Georgia Tech represent. Oh, and they’ve got everyone’s favorite things: SGA, FASET and the Student Organization Finance Office. That’s about it, but the air conditioning is on point.

D. M. Smith:

Named after one of Tech’s legendary professors, D. M. Smith was notable that when he retired, his students over the years wrote pamphlets about him to preserve the man’s notoriety for years to come. He is more than deserving to be the namesake of the former physics building, now home to Tech’s Public Policy department. And the lecture hall has some well-padded chairs, which is an underrated perk, even if the bathroom situation is a little bit sketchy.

Poll

No. 6 Charles A. Smithgall Jr. Student Services Building vs. No. 11 D. M. Smith Physics Building

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Smithgall:
    (53 votes)
  • 54%
    D. M. Smith:
    (63 votes)
116 votes total Vote Now

No. 3 Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons vs. No. 14 Daniel F. Guggenheim Building

CULC:

Did you know The Internship was filmed here?

Guggenheim:

When it was built, it was the height of honor. The Aeronautical School was a gift unparalleled in the history of Tech and represented the cutting edge of science and prestige. Now, it’s old and mysterious and you can’t get into most of the entrances if you’re not an AE major with Buzzcard entrance, but the aesthetic appeal of the exterior is under-appreciated.

Poll

No. 3 Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons vs. No. 14 Daniel F. Guggenheim Building

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    CULC:
    (85 votes)
  • 28%
    Guggenheim:
    (34 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now

No. 7 John Saylor Coon Building vs. No. 10 College of Design East and West

John Saylor Coon:

It used to be the Mechanical Engineering building, and was the largest at the school when it was finally completed, after being built in modular stages. Its namesake ran the department it was built for like his personal fief, and later the entire engineering school, as well. Now, it’s home of the School of Psychology and apparently a nice low key place to study, if you can get in.

Architecture:

Even though it didn’t become its own college until the 1970s, they got their own building in the 1950s. They used to do all of Tech’s architecture in house, and these facilities are no different. Architecture West is certainly a unique style on campus.

Poll

No. 7 John Saylor Coon Building vs. No. 10 Architecture

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    John Saylor Coon:
    (45 votes)
  • 59%
    Architecture
    (66 votes)
111 votes total Vote Now

No. 2 Andrew Carnegie Library vs. No. 15 College of Computing

Carnegie:

Financed with a grant from the Carnegie Foundation to serve as Tech’s first library, it was very quickly full to the rafters with books. Now long since replaced by Price Gilbert and Crosland from its original function and home to the President’s Office, it houses some of the more elegant space on campus. The building is small, but a gem of an architectural asset buried in the nook between Tech Tower and Highland Bakery, the outpost also known as the ghost of Junior’s Grill past. Notably, the Class of 1903 fountain is quietly located just outside of the front door.

Computing:

The building is old, and is diminutive and overshadowed by its shiny neighbor, Klaus Advanced Computing. And randomly full of chemistry things, too. Probably no one’s favorite, but home to more than a few late nights for a wide swath of students.

Poll

No. 2 Andrew Carnegie Library vs. No. 15 College of Computing

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Carnegie:
    (76 votes)
  • 30%
    Computing:
    (34 votes)
110 votes total Vote Now

North Campus:

No. 1 McCamish Pavilion vs. No. 16 [SEE FIRST FOUR WINNER]

The Thrillerdome:

This is one of the places that need no introduction. Even the most casual of Georgia Tech fans have, for the most part, visited McCamish Pavilion. Built as Tech’s first true basketball arena, replacing the Heisman Gymnasium, the Armory, and the elegantly named Crystal Palace, McCamish is also notable as the face of many of Tech’s larger formal events, like Senior Capstone, the Spring Career Fair, and Graduation.

President’s House:

The Georgia Tech Archives, a good friend of us here at From the Rumble Seat, concisely describes the President’s House as such: “The current President’s House was constructed in 1948 after an anonymous $100,000 donation made the project possible. President Van Leer’s wife, Ella, designed the home. The President’s House sits on the highest point on Georgia Tech’s campus.” The reason a new house was needed is that the only man ever to formally hold the “President Emeritus” title, Marion Brittain, was still living in the old house, which sat along North Avenue closer to Center Campus, now demolished, but the Van Leers needed somewhere to live. Recently, the entire backyard, a ravine, was filled with water due to extremely heavy rainfall, so that’s nifty.

Poll

No. 1 McCamish Pavilion vs. No. 16 President’s House

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    The Thrillerdome:
    (93 votes)
  • 16%
    President’s House:
    (18 votes)
111 votes total Vote Now

No. 8 Molecular Science and Engineering vs. No. 9 Parker H. Petit Biotechnology Building

MoSE:

Molecular Science and Engineering looms large over the lawn in the back of the BioTech Quad, but the large lecture hall in the basement is home to several of the larger general education classes. It isn’t named for anyone in particular, but the huge glass stairwell makes it notable enough alone to make it onto this list.

Petit:

A BioTech Quad showdown with MoSE is fun enough, but Parker Petit’s namesake Tech building is home to the excellent and relatively new Biomedical Engineering department. Also, it has cool tunnels connecting it to the rest of the quad, so that’s fun.

Poll

No. 8 Molecular Science and Engineering vs. No. 9 Parker H. Petit Biotechnology Building

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    MoSE:
    (47 votes)
  • 55%
    Petit:
    (58 votes)
105 votes total Vote Now

No. 5 Ken Byers Tennis Complex vs. No. 12 Graduate Living Center

Byers/Moore:

Tech’s multi-million dollar investment into turning a ravine into a sports complex led to one of the nicer facilities in college tennis. The Jackets regularly field competitive tennis teams, including the only national championship officially awarded by the NCAA.

GLC:

Technically, it’s built for graduate students, but, to be honest, most of the building is full of second years who can’t get into North Avenue Apartments or one of the West Campus apartments. It’s in the middle of nowhere, but it has its own postal service, which is cool.

Poll

No. 5 Ken Byers Tennis Complex vs. No. 12 Graduate Living Center

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Byers/Moore:
    (72 votes)
  • 33%
    GLC:
    (36 votes)
108 votes total Vote Now

No. 4 Shirley Clements Mewborn Softball Stadium vs. No. 13 Jesse Mason Building

Mewborn Field:

Tech softball finally got to move home onto campus a decade ago when the Athletic Association turned a parking lot on a bluff in front of the O’Keefe Building into a diamond. The view is gorgeous, the facility is intimate, and the location is ideal for watching softball and its value is spoken to by its role as ACC Tournament host this past season.

Mason:

The rather tall home of Civil and Environmental Engineering has an absolutely beautiful renovated first floor, if not a rather utilitarian exterior. Oddly, since it was built more recently than when Tech became co-ed, it doesn’t have both a men’s and women’s bathroom on the top three floors, instead choosing to alternate genders and floors.

Poll

No. 4 Shirley Clements Mewborn Softball Stadium vs. No. 13 Jesse Mason Building

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Mewborn Field:
    (47 votes)
  • 54%
    Mason:
    (56 votes)
103 votes total Vote Now

No. 6 Marcus Nanotechnology Building vs. No. 11 Paper Tricentennial Building

Nanotech:

Something wild was happening there the other night after the Pittsburgh basketball game, but the building’s still standing, so that’s dope. The remains of the Frank Neely Nuclear Reactor are somewhere under the building, so the site has always been host to some interesting projects. The unique façade allegedly helps reduce vibrations from passing traffic, and if that doesn’t confirm that they do fascinating stuff in there, I don’t know what would.

Paper:

Did you know Tech has a paper museum? I sure didn’t, until I had to pay $8 to get into my English 1102 class there one morning a couple years ago. A lot of textile and fiber work goes into paper, so one presumes the Materials Science and Engineering school is up there on Tenth, but all I’ve ever been there for is economics and poetry readings for said English classes. All in all, it’s a rather random building tucked away across from Rocky Mountain Pizza, far away from the rest of the academic buildings.

Poll

No. 6 Marcus Nanotechnology Building vs. No. 11 Paper Tricentennial Building

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Nanotech:
    (75 votes)
  • 27%
    Paper:
    (29 votes)
104 votes total Vote Now

No. 3 Russ Chandler Stadium vs. No. 14 Dean George C. Griffin Track

The Rusty C:

Another old favorite to many readers of this site, the site of Russ Chandler Stadium at Fowler and Ferst has been, in some form or another, the home of Tech baseball since they stopped sharing space at Grant Field with football. With Phase II of the modernization of what is already one of the best fields in the sport coming, one of the most dramatic settings in college baseball, bracketed by Atlanta skyline, is idyllic, iconic, and historic, and about to become even better.

The Dean Dirt:

I just made up this nickname just like I didn’t want to leave Track out from this tournament. The Griffin Track gets in on the pedigree of its namesake alone, who held almost every job imaginable at Tech, from student to football player, engineer to war hero, professor to dean, administrator to assistant coach, to father of traditions and work programs. He is literally the father of Georgia Tech as we know it. And for that alone, his track deserves a better name than the Dean Dirt, a pun off both his dean status and the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill, which isn’t even our school, but it’s the best I had.

Poll

No. 3 Russ Chandler Stadium vs. No. 14 Dean George C. Griffin Track

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    The Rusty C:
    (89 votes)
  • 13%
    Griffin Track:
    (14 votes)
103 votes total Vote Now

No. 7 Christopher W. Klaus Advanced Computing Building vs. No. 10 O’Keefe Gymnasium

Klaus:

It’s a big shiny building full of computer scientists. The nicer, sleeker, and larger cousin of the College of Computing includes a parking deck and lacks chemistry classrooms. The atrium alone is one of the nicer spots on campus and it frames two sides of a nice little quad and even includes the stately Binary Bridge.

O’Keefe:

I guess this includes the rest of the building, too, but the O’Keefe Gymnasium is far and away Tech’s greatest on-campus sports atmosphere. Sure, the McAuley Aquatic Center and Bobby Dodd Stadium may be more historically relevant, the Thrillerdome is in more highlight reels, Russ Chandler wins more accolades, and Mewborn more charming, but when the O’Keefe Gym is packed to the rafters - and trust me, it gets absolutely swarmed when the team is good - the lack of air conditioning isn’t the only thing that gets the heart rate up and the palms sweaty. O’Keefe isn’t the newest or the nicest, but you won’t find any more electric place on the Flats. And that includes the EE buildings.

Poll

No. 7 Christopher W. Klaus Advanced Computing Building vs. No. 10 O’Keefe Gymnasium

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Klaus:
    (58 votes)
  • 44%
    O’Keefe:
    (47 votes)
105 votes total Vote Now

No. 2 Roger A. and Helen B. Krone Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB I) vs. No. 15 Joseph H. Howey Physics Building

EBB I:

The newest and nicest purely academic building on campus is the first of a complex of three buildings planned for Tenth between State and Atlantic. It’s like the CULC, but with a more refined, elegant style. It even has a place to get goods from Highland Bakery in the lobby. What else could anyone ask for?

Howey:

I couldn’t dedicate a whole history column to one of my low-key favorite minor traditions at Tech, but here’s as good of a place as any to talk about it: I love all the hometowns written in the cracks between the bricks of the walls of the Howey Lecture Hall bathroom. I think it’s really cool. I have no idea how it started, but it’s charming. It’s a little thing to feel a part of, especially for someone like me that was a freshman from farther away when he first found it. Probably isn’t a coincidence that the aesthetic of my favorite deep dish pizza place in Chicago is largely based on the rampant vandalism that covers every wall. But that doesn’t stop Howey from being a bland, windowless building shoehorned with four lecture halls for all the physics, math, and computer science lectures almost everyone needs to take but absolutely no one loves.

Poll

No. 2 Roger A. and Helen B. Krone Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB I) vs. No. 15 Joseph H. Howey Physics Building

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    EBB I:
    (36 votes)
  • 65%
    Howey:
    (69 votes)
105 votes total Vote Now

Cast your vote for your favorite by Friday night at 9:00 PM so I can finalize the first half of the second round brackets! See ya tomorrow for the latter half of the first round.