Today, Pixar releases “Up,” its latest, “best animated movie of all time” (at least until their next one comes out). The film is about an elderly widower who ties thousands of colorful balloons to his house and floats off, house and all (including an accidental stowaway Boy Scout), toward a picturesque jungle location somewhere in South America. The movie reportedly cost $175 MILLION to make (PLUS marketing) -- $175 million to move ONE house!!
This got me thinking. I suspect that every campus and urban planner would love to be able to simply attach balloons to a building or a power plant or a CTA station or whatever was in the way, lift it skyward, and move it to a more suitable location. For example, wouldn’t it be great if we could just lift the Student Services Building up in the air and plop it down nearer the center of one side of the campus or another? (Still connected to all of its utilities, of course.)
What about campus buildings (like the Chemical Engineering Building on Clinton Street on the other side of the Dan Ryan, or Art & Design Hall and CUPPA Hall on the “wrong” side of the Eisenhower) that are, for lack of a better phrase, off-campus islands? What if those wonderful balloons could lift those buildings up and move them more toward the centers of activity on the campus? (Of course, especially in regard to Art & Design and CUPPA, the balloon airlift relocation process would also magically renovate them and make them leak-free, energy efficient, and more friendly to those of us here in the 21st century.)
In addition, there are several UIC buildings, to remain nameless, which could follow the house in “Up” to some distant exotic location and nary a person at UIC would shed a tear.
But moving buildings is very difficult in a live-action, non-animated world. The reason that it’s all about location, location, location in real estate business is because where something is first located is where, in the real world, it will (almost) always be located.
Hence, the importance of a good campus master plan.
The blog will be on summer hiatus until the 4th of July (give or take).