Demolition of the Aztec Center at SDSU
Another iconic piece of San Diego Modernism was lost to the wrecking ball in 2011. The 1964 Aztec Center, designed by the venerable Bob Mosher and Roy Drew, was demolished to make way for a new and improved student union. The jury saw it as an epitome of elegant engineering with beautiful sculptural qualities. Plans to renovate and expand the existing center were shelved in 2007 when it was deemed that their costs would be nearly as much as constructing a new building. The student body voted in 2010 to approve a fee increase to fund a new building and by so doing, made way for the demolition.
True to the time it was built, the striking architecture of the Aztec Center is to be replaced by Spanish revival historical pastiche, albeit complete with all the modern “green” bells and whistles.
The jury noted SDSU’s lack of institutional leadership in campus design - so much money spent in capital investment, but with only examples of poor to average architecture to show for it. Change is inevitable and embraced by the students who are eager for a modern student union, but leaders should ensure that the campus represents the ideas, technology, materials and architectural language of each generation.
- Project Address: Aztec Center on the SDSU campus, near College
- Project Owner/ Developer: San Diego State University
- Owner Contact Name/ Email: Michael Woomer, Associate Director of Design and Construction, email@example.com
- Project Architect/ Designer: Demolished building: Robert Mosher, New building: Cannon Design
When will we learn the historic value of so-called "modernist" buildings from the 1950's and 60's? SDSU recently demolished a striking example - the Aztec Center (1964). I'm sure there were many reasons given why the original building couldn't be retained in some manner.
Some history of the process here.
But what is most galling is that the building to replace it has a faux historical look (to fit in with the original 1930's Spanish revival architecture on the campus), but promises all the modern "green" bells and whistles.
Why can't buildings just have an honest expression of the era in which they are built? Like the original Aztec Center.