Friedland and Kalman were perfectly viable and beautiful buildings that I love. It is very environmentally intensive to build a building. I don’t know why we did not keep them. So much could have been put into them. They were beautiful and sturdy buildings, and they were destroyed without anyone’s consent. Talk about a Rose Art Museum. Who’s with me?

We could have put so many things in there that are worth while. Now there is nothing, a costly demolition that wastes time. Let’s put in a zine library, and a gender center, and a music venue. STOP THE DEMOLITION NOW. Do you see, all caps.


  1. Liat Says:

    Great post, Scott! Awesome job. Thanks for writing about this–I feel like no one’s talking about the haphazard demolition of these buildings.

  2. Sam Says:

    A bit late – there’s basically gone now. Though I was happy to see (as I walk past the construction every day) that they seem to be separating out different types of metal. Hopefully this means they are recycling!

  3. Brandesian Says:

    Haphazard demolition? What are you talking about? Do you see a big implosion, followed by dumpsters of removed detritus? No. They are taking the buildings apart piece by piece, reusing, recycling and salvaging whatever they can.

  4. Alex Says:

    I just think it’s wasteful that they got rid of them just for the sake of replacing them with the half-finished “campus bling” Shapiro building. They could have renovated the old buildings for a fraction of the cost of replacing them and spent the leftover cash on *god forbid* actually building up the science program and bringing it on par with Tufts’ or BU’s programs.

    Instead we have half a flashy new building filled with the same old uninspired, underperforming science program (now with even less money for meaningful research because it’s all tied up in unnecessary facilities).

    Take a look at Harvard or MIT’s campuses and you’ll see that they house their programs in buildings that are often far older than Kalman or Friedland, it’s what goes on inside that’s important, not how nice the building looks from the president’s office.

  5. AB Says:

    Just FYI, it is more expensive to renovate a severely outdated building than to tear it down and build a new one due to infrastructure reasons.
    Number 2, not sure if you guys ever took classes in those buildings.. I did, and I’m not sure that leaky ceilings (water dripping into my experiments in heavy downpours…), broken gas nozzles, and nonworking fire suppression equipment is worth keeping a building up.

    One thing that I do have to say about brandeis is that it invests heavily in repairs, and not heavily in construction. this results in buildings that don’t last long and are outdated quickly. Also, its not fair to compare our campus to harvard or MIT at all, since we don’t even have a fraction of the amount of funds they have. They pump massive amounts of money into repairs, capital projects, etc. that allow these buildings to flourish way past their primes.

  6. Pitbull Says:

    The cost of keeping the buildings and renovating them was astronomical compared to demolition. To renovate the buildings into functioning 21st century science buildings would be very difficult. This is not just putting some new chairs and A/V equipment in the classrooms like they did up in Rabb. There are science labs in these buildings. Based on the condition of the buildings themselves and the facilities within the building, the building would need to be completely gutted. All that would remain is the shell for buildings that were not exactly ADA compliant and were not really environmentally friendly. Better the buildings be demolished and green space go in their place.

  7. Scott Says:

    Salient Points, especially about the ADA things, and the high costs of renovation.

  8. karelsf Says:

    Previous commenters have it right — Kalman and Friedland were in very bad repair and were costing $$$ to keep them limping along (I spent about 10 years in an office in Kalman – no one I talked to there loved the building). Whether the new building is the best use of our donor’s money? That’s a different question. There is a good article about Friedland in the latest issue of the Catalyst.

    I suggest you focus on the next buildings that might be in danger, as this discussion really has to happen long before the bulldozers show up. In the Science Center, Both the Bassine and Kosow buildings have recently had money invested in them to update labs to be usable, and may need more. The Edison-Lecks and Abelson buildings are also showing their ages. A donor-friendly, eco-friendly initiative for repair and reuse of campus buildings would be a great thing.

  9. Nat Says:


    Are you kidding? Our science programs are significantly better than either Tufts’ or BU’s (apologies to anyone going to those schools), especially considering that both of those places have their own medical schools and Brandeis doesn’t. Universities don’t really fund much of their own research, either; it’s largely a combination of public and some private funding. Brandeis is probably one of the best schools of its size in the country to do science research as an undergraduate.

    I work in a lab directly opposite the ongoing demolition of Kalman, and the people working to take that building apart are wearing protective suits. I wouldn’t bet that Kalman has some unsafe and environmentally unsound insulation, something that the new science center, for all its faults (and I think there are plenty) does relatively well. New buildings will likely be much more environmentally efficient and sound.

  10. uh oh Says:

    Protective suits!?
    Oh fuck, I was playing in there today and I hope there wasn’t any asbestos