Debunking Urban Legends About Brandeis Architecture
No. The building did not include its signature “glass curtain” windows on all four sides until a major addition was built in 1963. Many have claimed that the structure’s 88 windows were intended to represent the 88 keys of a piano — a fortuitous coincidence.
Yes. Early architect Archie Riskin surveyed the structure and found sliding panels and apartments accessible by secret passageways.
No. Usdan was originally designed ca. 1965, before the occurrence of the Ford Hall takeover (January 1969). It was built in the Brutalist style, defined by massive brick walls and raw concrete. The design connected four buildings around an open courtyard; it has been suggested that its many entrances/exits were intended to comply with fire code requirements. But this design was also convenient in attracting donors after whom a hall of the building could be named.
Of note: Usdan Student Center was built on the former Middlesex Reservoir.