The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Campus gems and eyesores: A building ranking

Walking through campus reveals some eyesores and some beautiful buildings, which inspired us to answer the burning question: Which one comes out on top?
George Albu
Sidewalk between Magnolia and Payne Hall at sunrise, as photographed on Sept. 8, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/George Albu)

CORRECTION: This article was corrected on Oct. 31 at 12:35 p.m. CDT. The article originally included a photo of the Peabody Administration building rather than Cohen Hall.

The Vanderbilt campus has a lot to boast about, whether it be its arboretum status or its countless large, red-brick buildings. In fact, the Princeton Review ranks Vanderbilt as the 13th prettiest college campus in the nation. In honor of that high honor, I ranked a selection of 13 main undergraduate buildings from the ugliest to the prettiest.

13. Olin Hall

Olin Hall as seen from Garland Ave, as captured on Sept. 30, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Corey Lochan) (Corey Lochan)

The mere sight of the School of Engineering’s Olin Hall is enough to bring someone to tears. The only thing differentiating this cold, windowless block of stone from a high-security prison is its lack of an electric fence. The inside does not offer much more, with bare, narrow hallways and low ceilings. 

12. Stevenson Center

Stevenson Center as seen from the top of the center staircase, as captured on Oct. 27, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Corey Lochan) (Corey Lochan)

While not as bad as Olin Hall, the Stevenson Center imposes itself as gigantic, brick boxes in the center of campus. To make matters worse, the endless maze of tunnels underneath the complex creates a suffocating atmosphere that prevents the inexperienced student from ever arriving at their destination. The worst part of Stevenson is possibly the constant, unsettling noises emitted by the buildings at all hours of the day. If that is not enough, the last straw is the concerning statue at the top of the stairs of a man screaming in agony, representing the emotions of anyone finding themselves within the walls of the complex.

11. Calhoun Building

Calhoun Building as seen from its front entrance, as captured on Sept. 11, 2020. (Hustler Multimedia/Geena Han)
(Geena Han)

The Calhoun Building may not seem terrible from the outside, but its facade is merely a deception. Inside, the building offers views similar to a run-down hospital. Additionally, the stairwell transports its visitors into a prison setting, where they are surrounded by small windows to ensure the minimization of any natural light that may try to sneak in.

10. Furman Hall

Furman Hall, as captured on Oct. 4, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Tasfia Alam) (Tasfia Alam)

Furman Hall simply does not belong on Vanderbilt’s campus, seeming so out of place that some claim the building was accidentally placed here instead of at Duke. The building itself has few issues to complain about. The outside looks like a castle and the inside is a pleasant space. However, in its location surrounded by the campus’s classic brick architecture, Furman sticks out, taking away from the cohesiveness of the surrounding area.

9. Peabody Library

Peabody Library, as captured Oct. 24, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Claire Gatlin) (Claire Gatlin)

Peabody Library is another deceptive building on campus. The large columns and sculpted exterior provide a grand look to the building well-situated on Wyatt Lawn. Alas, the inside seems to be one of the most run-down buildings on campus. The windows are peeling, the walls are grimy and the study spaces are arguably the least productive environment out of all the campus libraries.

8. Central Library

Central Library, as captured on Sept. 6, 2023. (Abby Hoelscher)
(Abby Hoelscher)

Central Library is the least cohesive building on campus. The building is in desperate need of a power wash on the entire brick exterior. Upon entry, the interior is beautiful, warm and inviting. Just a few steps further, though, the ceilings drop to almost the height of a person’s head, and the narrow passages become illuminated with harsh, uninspiring lights. There are many nice rooms deep within Central Library, however, if you can fit through the hallways to get there.  

7. Featheringill/Jacobs Hall

Featheringill/Jacobs Hall’s main lounge as seen from the entrance, as captured on Sept. 19, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Corey Lochan)
(Corey Lochan)

Featheringill successfully does its job as a building. Its modest exterior does not raise any false hopes, but its inside delivers. Its three-story-high ceilings with interior balconies and wood-paneled walls provide an ideal space to do work or enjoy free time. 

6. Kirkland Hall

Kirkland Hall, as captured on Oct. 6, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sean Onamade) (Sean Onamade)

Kirkland Hall’s extensive construction fencing makes it almost impossible to judge. However, the parts of it that are visible, like the detailed molding and castle-like features on its roof level, shows it is a top-tier building on campus. It is still unclear whether the Kirkland clock tower beats out Big Ben for the world’s best clock.

5. Benson Science Hall

Benson Science Hall at midday, as captured on Sept. 15, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/ George Albu) (George Albu)

Benson’s exterior is one of the most ornate and well-designed on campus, and the tower in the center of it makes it look as grand as possible. With proper maintenance, it could even make a higher place on this list. However, a closer look at the structure reveals dirty windows covered in cobwebs that make it clear that the building may be haunted — especially at night.

4. Buttrick Hall

Buttrick Hall, as captured on Oct. 4, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Tasfia Alam) (Tasfia Alam)

Buttrick Hall looks satisfactory from the outside. Its large number of windows and stone features give it enough detail to not look bland, but the inside makes Buttrick shine. Its tall, pointed arches and bridges on the inside make Buttrick the most attractive building to walk through on campus.

3. Wyatt Center

The Wyatt Center at Crepuscule, captured on Aug. 31, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Royce Yang) (Royce Yang)

The Wyatt Center is seen as the masterpiece of the Peabody campus. The grand columns, expansive dome and curved walkways to adjacent dorm buildings make the building grand and picturesque. The entrance lobby also is a pleasant place to spend time. The basketball gym flooring throughout the building and the dark back hallways reduce the building from what it could be.

2. Cohen Hall

Inside Cohen Memorial Hall, as photographed on Oct. 30, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Lana English) (Lana English)

Cohen Hall on Peabody Lawn houses the Fine Arts Gallery, so, naturally, the building is one of the best. The fluted columns, sculpted niches and ornate molding already impress anyone walking by, but the inside’s marble and mosaic flooring with marble columns and staircases invite visitors to one of the most impressive spaces on campus.

1. Mayborn/6 Magnolia

6 Magnolia, as captured on Sept. 7, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Abby Hoelscher) (Abby Hoelscher)

The nicest building on campus, Mayborn/6 Magnolia, stands alone among several mid-tier buildings. The classic architecture of the Mayborn side is the grandest of any similar building on campus, and it is accentuated by the glass wall of the connecting 6 Magnolia structure. Inside Mayborn, the grand staircase and stained glass ceiling dome are unmatched across campus in a space that could only possibly be beaten by the connecting modern lobby of the 6 Magnolia side of the building. With food inside, study spaces and by far the nicest bathrooms on campus, the building wins hugely as Vanderbilt’s best.

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About the Contributors
Corey Lochan
Corey Lochan, Staff Writer
Corey Lochan (‘27) is majoring in economics and human and organizational development and minoring in business in the College of Arts and Science. He is also interested in swimming, golfing and anything outdoors. He can be reached at [email protected].
George Albu
George Albu, Staff Writer and Photographer
George Albu (‘27) is majoring in medicine, health and society in the College of Arts and Science. When not working for The Hustler, he enjoys taking long walks around campus, reading or watching video essays about anything and everything online. He can be reached at [email protected].
Geena Han
Geena Han, Former Staff Photographer
Geena Han (‘24) is double majoring in environmental sociology and earth and environmental science in the College of Arts and Science. One of her favorite pastimes is crocheting clothes for her dog. You can reach her at [email protected].
Tasfia Alam
Tasfia Alam, Multimedia Copy Editor
Tasfia Alam (‘25) is from Los Angeles and is majoring in neuroscience and political science in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, she can be found obsessing over a new book, trying to expand her music taste or taking pictures of pretty sunsets. You can reach her at [email protected]
Claire Gatlin
Claire Gatlin, Former Life Editor
Claire Gatlin ('24) is a student in Peabody College studying human and organizational development and political science. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts, reading and rollerblading. You can reach her at [email protected].
Abby Hoelscher
Abby Hoelscher, Photography Editor
Abby Hoelscher (‘27) is from St. Louis and is an aspiring elementary teacher currently studying in Peabody College. She previously served as Deputy Photography Director. Outside of writing, she enjoys performing, learning Taylor Swift songs in American Sign Language and trying the seasonal lattes from the campus coffee shops. She can be reached at [email protected].
Sean Onamade
Sean Onamade, Digital Editor
Sean Onamade (‘25) is from Calgary, Canada, and is majoring in computer science in the School of Engineering. When not staying up late to work on code, Sean snaps photos, hits the gym and takes some time to learn a new language. He can be reached at [email protected].
Royce Yang
Royce Yang, Staff Photographer
Royce Yang (‘27) is planning to major in political science in the College of Arts and Science. He can occasionally be observed curating an extensive collection of Bach or attempting to identify helicopters around the Medical Center based on their noise. You can reach him at [email protected].
Lana English
Lana English, Staff Photographer
Lana English (‘27) is from St. Louis and is majoring in neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of The Hustler, you can find her drinking coffee, doing New York Times word games or getting nostalgic looking at old pictures. You can reach her at [email protected].
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Comments (4)

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Jayden Henry
7 months ago

I think Furman’s being the only gray stone building is what makes it special!

George Albu
7 months ago
Reply to  Jayden Henry

I 110% agree, yes, it is out of place but that is the charm of Furman on campus on a campus of just red-brick buildings!
Also, I would say that Stevenson has some merit when it comes to the upper-floors. While I do agree that Stevenson lacks a stunning exterior, it easily makes up for that with open interiors with decor (the scientific instruments by the library are so interesting to look at) alongside Stevenson 9 provides some of the best views of campus that an undergrad can find.

Jayden Henry
7 months ago

The photo under Cohen Hall isn’t Cohen, it’s administration.

7 months ago
Reply to  Jayden Henry

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The article has been corrected.