The Northrup Mall transports the design and layout of the surrounding buildings to manipulate what the viewer will feel standing in the center. "Architecture is a form of language, of communication. It speaks. It can convey through its design its place in society, its content (O'Gorman 89)." Standing in the Mall you are in the center of the University. The large stately buildings that surround you give you a feeling of authority and a sort of conformity. This conformity is thrown off by the slight difference of architectural design of the Coffman Union and completely by the Weisman Museum.
The buildings are positioned to create a central area or what is also known as Northrup Mall. The exterior space created draws people to a common ground. This exterior space includes the large area of grass and also the area in front of Northrup Auditorium.
Conformity of the buildings seem to regulate or manipulate the message from the architect to the viewer.
"Architecture, especially older architecture, conveys deeper, or broader, or more cogent meaning through metaphor (O'Gorman 90)." The trabeated columns on all of the buildings is one indicator of conformity.
Symmetrically balanced and facing one another, each building represents the main departments at the University such as College of Liberal Arts in Johnston Hall and the Institute of Technology in the Walter Library. Morril Hall houses the Administrative department where the President of the University has his office. Again, these building are encloses a space to create the Northrup Mall to create a center of the University.
Coffman Union carries similar aesthetics. For example, the balanced symmetrical cleft sides and the trabeated columns. However, the Coffman Union is more modern in which representing the Student Community Center. In addition, Northrup Auditorium and Coffman Union are facing one another. This seems to indicate that the two building are important to the University.
In all, the space created dominates the viewers attention, draws them to the center of the student social structure which is encompassed like the design and location of these 10 buildings.