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The Five Worst Buildings On Campus

Penn State has a gorgeous campus. From the Arboretum when it’s in bloom, to the length of the Pattee mall lined with trees and small black chain fences. It’s one of the great draws of the university, and one of the reasons I personally fell in love with this place four-and-a-half years ago. It’s a shame, then, that a small number of buildings that dot this campus can singlehandedly ruin a view. While Penn State’s varied approach to its architecture gives it a very unique dynamic compared to, say, Michigan or Duke, some of the buildings simply don’t deserve to stand on such gorgeous land. This list counts down the five ugliest, most rage-inspiring feats of engineering contained in the 16802 zip code, and will hopefully allow people to vent their frustrations.

5. Pattee Library (Stacks)


The Stacks are ugly, stupid, and really creepy. They look like the setting to a horror movie, have the scariest staircase and elevator combo in the history of architecture, and someone was actually murdered in there. From the outside, they represent the ultimate tyranny of college. There are windows, which allow you to stare at campus wishing you were anywhere else in the world. There are old steel desks that are probably worth more as scrap metal than learning spaces. There’s the outside being that ugly shade of beige all the worst buildings of the era are in. Oh, and now that it’s 2015 and the necessity to store massive volumes of text on a college campus is pretty non-existent, they’re now wasting great space. You could fit another set of horrifyingly small classrooms in there instead! The Pattee Library and its stacks are the stuff of nightmares, but all the knowledge housed in them has university administrators fearful they’ve become sentient. As such, they’re here to stay.

4. The East Halls Towers

East Halls Stock

You can’t find a picture of these online and I’m sure that’s no coincidence. They’re all pretty much the same, so I’ve lumped them together. Penitentiary feel? Check. Horrible, small rooms? Check. Brick and window design to add to the prison feel? Check and check. You made great memories in your freshman year dorm, but you would never ever live there again. The East Halls re-design means they’re gonna be history soon, but they show the markings of a trend in these rankings: designed for stuffing as many students into as small a space as possible. They strike a sense of wonderment into those looking back on them with nostalgia, but they also would be better served if we gutted them and built a massive trampoline or fan into the floor like at the Kennedy Space Center. At least it would be less horrifying than the bright white painted brick walls that just refuse to hold tape.

3. Osmond

Do you enjoy learning on a 45-degree slope? No? Well that’s too bad, because you’re gonna have to try to walk down the horror steps of Osmond before you get a chance. In the winter, when they’re covered in mud and melted snow, these are an actual death trap. I’ve seen several students slip on their way down to the colosseum pit, and the fact that I immediately thought “well, they’re probably not getting back up” speaks volumes. It’s not an ugly building on the outside necessarily, but the inside is violently awful. The inside has a really weird layout, with some smaller classrooms that have stiff uncomfortable seating, a lounge area that is best served for crying after you bomb your statistics quiz, and a parking lot you’re not allowed to use!

2. Forum


Forum feels like it was built as the indoctrination center of a Soviet-era prison. Instead, you’re supposed to learn Econ 102 in there! From the tiny, cramped desks and rows upon rows of seating with only two aisles, making entry to the middle as inefficient as possible, there really is nothing to love about Forum. The outside is an eyesore in its own right, with weirdly slanted roofing, ugly, shoddy design on the outside, gross fountain, and a walkup that situates it in an otherwise beautiful part of campus, making it even uglier. Oh, and navigating its weird room numbering system is infuriating no matter how many times you’ve walked that stupid circle.

1. Hammond


I hate Hammond. I hate it so much. Just thinking about it ruining the view of campus from College Avenue makes me irrationally angry. It’s massive, it’s ugly, and it’s unavoidable. Whoever designed this building should be in jail, and the building itself should be imploded. I don’t even have anything else to say about it. Whatever.

Did we miss a building you despise? Do you have a bulldozer we can borrow to get rid of these buildings? Let us know in the comments. 

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About the Author

Noel Purcell

Noel Purcell is Onward State's Features Editor. He's a senior Supply Chain major, but is going to law school at some point in the future and masquerades as a writer for now. He continues to disappoint his ancestors by being a complete Irish stereotype. His email is [email protected] because there were no other Noels before him. His ex-wife got the good half of his bio in the divorce settlement.

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