During the post-war period of rapid change, the university faced a sharp increase in enrollments (due in part to the GI Bill), outdated laboratory facilities, insufficient housing facilities, an increase in automobile use and a need for parking spaces, and a tight budget. Campus planning during this era posed challenging problems for university officials. Based on the Platt plan of 1927 (see appendix 20), the 1944 Post-War Building Program recommended campus expansion to the east and west and established site locations for electrical and mechanical engineering buildings (1949, 1950), Animal Sciences (1950), the College of Veterinary Medicine (1952, Environmental and Agricultural Sciences Building), and a home economics building (1955, Bevier Hall). A severe housing shortage led to the construction of a wide variety of both permanent and temporary structures for men (1954, Flagg Hall and Noble Hall), women (1949, Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall), married students, graduate students, and staff.
Except for Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall, which retained the Georgian treatment, styles of this period diverged from the Georgian Revival architectural tradition established by Charles Platt. Generally, these new structures took on a more modern appearance, abandoning steeply pitched roofs and projecting chimneys. Moreover, the building program was no longer dominated by a single architect as had been the case in the past: a number of different firms designed in various styles, reintroducing architectural eclecticism into the campus landscape.
In 1950 the architecture firm of Gregg and Briggs addressed the problems of development and vehicular transportation in the first comprehensive campus study since the Platt era. Their recommendations included the development of the south campus as opposed to costly land acquisitions to the east and west, a campus transit system, and parking lots for any new development. Dealing with general planning issues rather than building specifications, the study left campus officials with the task of choosing sites for future structures on a building-by-building basis.
During the 1960s, the University of Illinois Ten Year Development Plan (see appendix 21), 1959-1969, by the firm of Richardson, Severns, Scheeler and Associates restored site planning control to the campus. The 10-year plan was comprehensive in scope, including thorough analyses of directions of growth, space and land needs, housing, and transportation. Development of the plan required extensive land acquisitions to the east (of Mathews Avenue) and west (of Wright Street) of the central campus area. One of the university’s more notable land acquisitions occurred in the late 1960s when the area between Goodwin Avenue and Gregory Street was purchased for the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (1969). In a return to more formal planning techniques, the building was situated on a centerline axis aligning with California Avenue and Daniels Street. The Assembly Hall (1963), the world’s largest free-span dome structure at the time, had received similar formal treatment with a location on axis with and to the south of Memorial Stadium. Both the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the Assembly Hall were designed by the architectural firm of Harrison and Abramovitz.
In the early 1960s hundreds of mature elm trees were lost to an epidemic of Dutch Elm disease, thus dramatically altering the appearance of the campus. The firm of Sasaki Associates, Inc. was hired to reinforce the style of the academic campus with formal landscape plantings and street trees. Although the 1969 plan included no architectural controls and elaborate land acquisition recommendations were never fully realized, the plan was successful at guiding campus development throughout the decade.
Campus development stagnated during the economic recession in the early to mid-1970s. Planning efforts focused on needs analysis rather than building sites and architectural styles. Though most construction took place on peripheral campus areas, the Foreign Language Building (1971) and the Physical Education Intramural Complex (1971, IMPE) penetrated the campus core. Designed by Holabird and Root, the Foreign Language Building completed the central quadrangle by filling the site directly south of Davenport Hall. The Physical Education building, located on axis with Memorial Stadium and the Assembly Hall, accents the role of the south campus in athletics.