Was the Campus of the University of Albany Originally Designed to be Used in Arizona?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to architecture and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the architecture urban legends featured so far.

ARCHITECTURE URBAN LEGEND: The campus at the University at Albany in New York was originally designed to be used in Arizona.

The campus at the University at Albany in Albany, New York (one of the four major state universities in New York State) is a striking looking design during the summer months, particularly the foliage and the beautiful fountain and water pool.

However, during the WINTER months, it can be practically torturous, as the enclosed design of the campus almost aids an already blustery climate by turning the campus into a bit of a wind tunnel.

It is so noticeable of a defect that it has become a university legend that the campus was originally designed for Arizona (or another warmer climate), where it would serve to amplify the meager winds there.


Not true.

The campus was designed by the acclaimed architect Edward Durell Stone.

Here’s a similar design Stone did for the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

In any event, Stone specifically did not design it for a warmer climate, as he himself, at the time of the design (1965), announced that the outdoor roofs were designed specifically FOR Albany’s climate – by protecting students from rain and snow.

Granted, the end result was not what he hoped for, as the campus is not very good for walking around in the winter months (which is why it also has an indoor tunnel system similar to many schools in Buffalo), but that WAS his intent at the time.

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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