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Departing from Quad’s red-brick architecture, post-war buildings were built cheaply, quickly

Gary Smith, director emeritus of Admissions and Registrar, describes the impact World War II had on architecture at MU.

Multimedia and text by Lukas Udstuen


Gary Smith has seen 40 years of change on campus.

Smith, director emeritus of Admissions and Registrar, decided to create the “MU — Then and Now” project to illustrate the extent of the change he’s seen.

People who haven’t been back to campus in 30 or 40 years would be aghast at all of the changes, Smith said.

Smith began working on the “Then and Now” project soon after retiring from MU in 2000. The compilation shows photographic side-by-side comparisons of how the campus looked in the past and how the same location looks closer to today. The project primarily shows historical pictures ranging from 1950 to the early 1980s.

In 1982, MU began a campus master plan with the goal of creating a more unified campus environment.

Smith said a portion of the plan was to work toward unity among the buildings on campus that fit in with MU’s historic architecture.

Many of the incongruous buildings on campus were constructed as a result of a massive influx of students to MU after World War II, Smith said. Examples of these are structures such as the Fine Arts Building and the Agriculture Building. The buildings were built on what Smith calls “the cheap and the quick.”

MU’s master plan is ongoing and continues to evolve.

“We can't do much with the damage we've caused, but we can make sure when we build a new building it fits in,” Smith said.

"After the war ... we built some buildings on what I call the 'cheap and the quick' — good examples of that being the Fine Arts building and the (Agriculture) building, which are atrocious in my opinion."

— Gary Smith