News & Politics

University of Maryland’s Campus Called One of Nation’s Ugliest

Then again, this ranking comes from the same website that besmirched the Black Cat.

OK, the lawn could use some work, but McKeldin Library itself looks nice from the outside. Photograph via Wikimedia Commons.

The University of Maryland is filled with red-brick Georgian buildings, wide plazas and walkways, verdant landscaping, the Paint Branch Trail, and even a statue of Jim Henson. Nearly one-third of the 1,250-acre campus is a lush urban forest.

And Complex, a website that dishes out supposedly snarky lists targeted at young men, thinks Maryland is ugly—the 17th ugliest in the United States, to be precise. Complex’s latest trolly list ranks what it considers to be the 50 ugliest college campuses, and Maryland gets dinged for buildings like the McKeldin Library and The Armory.
Of Maryland, Complex writes:
Similar to many other campuses on our list, College Park is a brick wonderland. Its unfortunate Georgian aesthetic choice is the main reason this school gets on the list. With its cold, rigid architecture and need for high security, College Park leaves a lot to be desired.

To illustrate Maryland’s supposed hideousness, Complex uses a photo of McKeldin Library and its walkway of successive waterfalls taken on a dreary, overcast day, and another shot of the College Park Metro station. To be fair, the portion of College Park away from Route 1—the highways, strip malls, and mindless sprawl—isn’t that pretty, but to pin a campus’s alleged lack of scenic beauty on its proximity to a Metro station that looks like every other suburban Metro station is itself pretty cold and rigid.
Then again, this is from Complex, the same publication that put the Black Cat on its list of Washington’s “douchiest bars,” so the judgment here is pretty questionable.
The dishonors for ugliest college in the country went to Ave Maria University, a Catholic school in Florida built in 2007 by Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan. And for a man who made his fortune feeding starving, night-owl college kids, it sure is hideous.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.