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Opinion: The James’ hospital sign flashy, ugly

July 16, 2014

seamon.17@osu.edu
The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute Credit: Danielle Seamon / Arts editor

The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
Credit: Danielle Seamon / Arts editor

Thus far, my favorite summer matchup came weeks before Wimbledon and the World Cup began.

Over here in the states, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel kindled a war of words with business mogul Donald Trump.

The mayor’s office released a statement in early June stating that the cartoonish billionaire’s iconic “Trump” sign that brands his new, 90-something-story tower in the windy city is “architecturally tasteless” and, therefore, scars the “architecturally tasteful building.”

Trump has (thankfully) yet to land his silver thimble on 18th and Neil in the giant Monopoly game that is his life, but that’s not to say OSU doesn’t have its fair share of towers.

OSU’s Wexner Medical Center is a district with some of the tallest and most noticeable structures upon eye’s glance, especially while driving on state Route 315. If a traveller were to casually drive northbound to Worthington, the height and configuration of the buildings in addition to the occasional emergency helicopter flying in and out would be enough context clues to figure that he or she is looking at a series of medical complexes. Its proximity to Ohio Stadium would make it pretty obvious it all belongs to OSU.

“Nu-uh,” said someone, perhaps the university’s personal decorator.

Sometime in May, white letters spelling “The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute” were plastered on the dark red brick on the west side of the newest, tallest and most prominent building in the hospital’s ongoing expansion project. The text seems to be in the Arial font family, and the entirety of the hospital’s extremely long name is justified to the right edge of the building. On the left side is a Block O.

Even better, the south side of the building also has a white “Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center” sign. That way, if you were to travel northbound on 315, you see both white signs within the same frame.

The James has been Trumped.

If you’ve missed this gaudy eyesore resembling the text in the opening slide to a high school student’s PowerPoint project, go get your eyes checked at the College of Optometry. Once you get your spankin’ new lenses, look at it again. Side effects may include headache, migraine and/or bleeding from the eyes.

With that being said, I acknowledge the vanity in my petty complaint. The James is one of the best cancer research institutions in the nation, and the work and progress accomplished within those walls have saved many lives. The hospitality and care provided is unmatched.

It just has an ugly, architecturally tasteless sign.

Of course, I know that the brilliant doctors, scientists, researchers, management and directors of the hospital have much more important things to do than fret about the pleasantry of a sign upon an artist’s eye.

So get someone from the Wexner Center for the Arts to do it. Or the Knowlton School of Architecture. Or a visual communications major. Or HGTV. Or the cast from TLC’s Trading Spaces.

I don’t claim to have a blueprint or design for how the sign should look, as I only see myself as a graphic designer because my aunt is one. However, I do feel it needs to be subtle.

The sheer size of the letters, obviously ordered in the XXXXXXXL size from Pottery Barn, exudes a sense of grandiosity for the sake of appeared importance. This is marinated in the look of trying too hard to impress. Plus, the font size and spacing between the lines look a bit uneven, and that’s annoying.

Perhaps it is time to go back to the drawing board, scrap the James’ sign and give the letters to some giants who want to play Scrabble. The research institute, the medical center and OSU in general does not need to prove itself in the form of brazen, pretentious, unsightly, materialistic symbols. The accolades, acclamation, athletics, research, academics and tall buildings speak for themselves.

OSU and the Wexner Medical Center are not self-involved, flashy, irritatingly omnipresent institutions.

We are not Donald Trump.


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Comments (9)

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  1. Ricky says:

    I think we have reached the pinnacle of things to complain about.

  2. Bob says:

    Re: “the entirety of the hospital’s extremely long name is justified to the right edge of the building.”
    They were actually quite discreet. The hospitals extremely long name is, “The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute at The Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University.”

  3. Linda Young says:

    I think it looks very nice.

  4. Jose says:

    Yeah, ask the Knowlton School of Architecture, because their building is such a visual masterpiece.

  5. Jeff says:

    Your last name is seamon for one. For two, it looks fine. Aren’t there better things to complain about? Actually to the lantern, aren’t there better things to waste your time advertising and tweeting about? You do a great job at that. Enjoy printing two newspapers a week next year. Irrelevant.

  6. Miriam Zech says:

    Many people travel from all over to the Cancer Hospital. The sign is easy to see, easy to read and allows those unfamiliar with the campus know they have found the correct building. It is doing its job.

    As far as architectural appeal- who cares? It is on a red brick building of no spectacular appeal anyway. When you have cancer, “pretty” signs are of no concern.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dear god.

  8. Alexis says:

    I, for one, totally agree. The sign looks sloppy, hastily erected, like an afterthought. I’ve made similar comments while driving by the building. Though I could have done without all of the Trump talk, I’m glad to see it in print (or pixels). Where was Helvetica when we needed it?

  9. Joey says:

    It is very ugly… Gets your attention though?

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