The Pickle. The Green Weenie. The Dallas Phallus: For the past 29 years, University Tower has been derided for its resemblance to a fully erect male member. And with a leafy forest at its base … well, let’s move on.
In 1985, when Texas developer Tommy F. Stone built the 17-story tower on Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, its flamboyance turned that portion of Durham’s skyline into a punch line. The essence of Durham, at least at the time, was mettle and grit, not metal and glass. So placing the tower at the western gateway to the city was like placing giant estate statues at the entrance to a very short driveway.
This weekend I did see a better side of the tower. The cart that carried the window washers seemed to dangle precariously. The refraction of the light bent the crane’s reflection in the glass. I found the geometry beautiful.