Architectural Digest throws the book at UMaine law school’s ‘rather unfortunate’ building

The University of Maine School of Law has three former governors and four Maine Supreme Court justices among its alumni, but its dingy, off-white round, blocky home off Brighton Avenue in Portland is a real stinker, according to Architectural Digest.

“This university building may look like a futuristic version of the Roman Colosseum, but the only battles happening within these walls are with the bar exam,” the magazine wrote in a recent article declaring the building one of the eight ugliest university buildings in America.

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dmitry Bam isn’t arguing the point.

“You’ve seen the building,” Bam said with a smile.

The eight-story structure at the intersection of Brighton Avenue, Deering Avenue and Falmouth Street looks like a silo, only wider and with columns of windows spaced between sheets of gray-white concrete. Bristles of cellphone towers and antennae rise off the roof, and a squat, square brick addition looks like a child’s block placed next to a sand castle tower.

Bam, who has worked at the law school for six years, said there are days when he thinks it would be nice to have an office in a traditional brick building overlooking the water, but he doesn’t worry too much about it.

“I think everyone here has just sort of accepted it,” he said. “It’s a joke but also a badge.”

Nicole Vinal, assistant dean for finance and administration at the law school, has worked there since 2005. She called the building “rather unfortunate.”

“But my kids think I work in a castle,” Vinal said. The building was not originally built for the law school. It was commissioned by the University of Southern Maine and housed mostly administrative offices until the law school moved there in 1972 from its former location on High Street.

The building, which cost $2.7 million to construct, has been described as an example of modernism. The “brutalist” style of architecture seen in the building became especially popular…

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