Building Blunders of Brandeis, Part I

My personal interests in architecture and planning have led me to do some research on the history of Brandeis’ grounds and buildings, and I have found many interesting things through both the university archives and my own exploring. This will be the first in a series of posts about poor decisions and unfortunate changes that have been made to our campus.

Did you know that Brandeis used to have an amphitheater? We did–it was called the Ullman Amphitheater and hosted commencement ceremonies from 1952 until 1992 (except for 1971–they were at the Chapels that year) when they were moved to Gosman Sports and Convocation Center.

Brandeis: Host at Last by Abram L. Sachar speaks of this former landmark, “Constructed on three acres of ground with seating for two thousand, but with space on the grassy slopes for seven or eight thousand more, it was equipped with a huge se and an orchestra put for forty musicians. Beneath the sing area were facilities for dressing, storage, and utility, as well as a number of classrooms.” It was designed by architects Harrison and Abramovitz, the same men who designed the beloved Three Chapels.

In a very unfortunate event, the Ullman Amphitheater suffered heavy damage due to fire, disabling its electrical equipment so that it was made virtually useless. The university did not repair the amphitheater but instead tore it down. It was located near Bernstein-Marcus and the location of the new Carl J. Shapiro Science Center. Here are some photos to give you a better idea of its location:

Ullman Amphitheater

Science Complex and Ullman Amphitheater

I know that Brandeis wasn’t doing as well financially in the ’90s, but I wish that the university had chosen to repair the amphitheater rather than demolish it. In just about 15 years it has faded away into memory. It could have continued to be an integral part of our campus today.

I hope you enjoyed learning this little tidbit of Brandeis campus history. There’s much more where that came from–you can be sure I’ll be back soon with another Blunder of Brandeis.






4 responses to “Building Blunders of Brandeis, Part I”

  1. Richard Ullman

    My grandfather gave the money for the Amphitheater. I was three when it opened. It was a deep loss to the Ullman family when it was torn down.

  2. The takeover of Ford hall was in the 60’s, wasn’t it? Why would they wait until the 90’s to decide what to do about it?

  3. Tatiana

    Apparently it was burned down during the takeover of ford hall.

  4. we could have had the most kick-ass concerts ever.