Wednesday, August 09, 2006

University of Wisconsin-Madison -- July 2004

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, in my opinion, represents the best combination I've seen of aesthetics, blending of a university and town, and walkability. I visited "Mad-Town" twice in the late 1980s while I was in graduate school at the University of Michigan, and did not get back until 2004, when I attended an academic conference.

The central area of Madison is an isthmus, defined by the Wikipedia as "a narrow strip of land that is bordered on two sides by water and connects two larger land masses."

On one end of the isthmus is the Wisconsin State Capitol building and at the other, just blocks away, is the UW campus. Between the two is State Street, an automobile-free pedestrian mall. Here are some shots I took of the capitol and State Street.

When entering the campus via State Street, one encounters a traditional-looking quad, as seen in the bottom photo of the following set...

The little red arrow is pointing to the Wisconsin Historical Society, a straight-on view of which is shown directly above the arrow.

The little green arrow is pointing to the student union, a more direct shot of which is shown above that arrow. The back of the union faces Lake Mendota, one of the two bodies of water forming the isthmus. As can be seen, the union offers lakefront dining and entertainment (notice the stage).

The other body of water in the area is Lake Monona, where a lovely new conference center called Monona Terrace is located. One night at the conference, dinner was served in the glass-enclosed portion of the facility, then we had dessert up on the roof.

Note: I have added some new photos of the University of Wisconsin and the town of Madison from my recent (July-August 2007) visit, which are available here.