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Exploring Cal Poly SLO’s Architectural Graveyard



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The 9-acre Experimental Structures Facililty has earned a new nickname over the years, which architectural engineering professor Ed Saliklis is truly saddened by. He refuses to even call it by it’s nickname: The Cal Poly Graveyard. The structures have fallen victim to vandals and neglect over the years, largely due to the fact that there is no longer a student caretaker looking over and protecting the land.

“This (vandalism) is completely bewildering to me,” Saliklis said. “Students created something lasting, that has lasted for generations, and now someone is actively going out there to destroy that very thing. They obviously are doing it to make an impression, but the impression is terribly destructive.” If you call someone an idiot, they feel like an idiot, right?” Saliklis said. “It’s meant to be a laboratory, and that’s why that wording is very, very important, that it’s prototyping ideas.” Due to the fact that there is no longer a student presence out there, keeping the vandals away has become impossible.

Every year, competitors design and build “shelters” where they must inhabit their structures throughout the entirety of the weekend of Cal Poly’s own Open House. The Design Village is an architectural competition hosted by Cal Poly in the experimental structures lab behind the campus. Design Village is held each spring during Cal Poly’s Open House in Poly Canyon. Community College, High School, and other students participate.

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