Property: Auditorium Building/Fairchild Theater, East Lansing

Although not as well regarded culturally as the Wharton Center, the MSU Auditorium is more impressive architecturally. While the former building offers a large, blank façade to Wilson Road, its main entrance stands isolated beyond a parking lot. In contrast, the Auditorium fronts Farm Lane in the heart of the campus, with its primary entrance approachable across a broad lawn.

Elevations are arranged using classical vertical divisions, building upon a base composed of alternating bands of brick and stone. In the middle division, the cladding changes to brick set in a common bond, occasionally highlighted with stone coursing and window surrounds. At the parapet, the brick is laid in a nearly indiscernible diamond pattern.

The projecting entrance volume obscures the enormity of the great concert hall behind it. Pilasters separate the west elevation’s three large window clusters, which are embellished with elaborate window tracery and bas relief carvings.

With primary seating that rivals its better known, cross campus counterpart, the building also houses the Fairchild Theater. Although this smaller venue is intended for more intimate performances, it is not content to turn its back to the campus and so bears the same details found on the main elevation, particularly the intricate window ornamentation.

“Eye candy of the Week” is our weekly look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates each with Eyesore of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail or call Berl Schwartz at 999-5061.

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