In these times of tight budgets and economic concerns, it's more important than ever to make good financial choices – not least when it comes to education. Some universities themselves have to be savvy with their funds, often balancing the need to cut back on costs with means of attracting new students.
As it turns out, high-rise buildings are a useful way around expensive land costs. Take the case of Roosevelt University in Chicago, for example, where a cool-looking skyscraper has helped make the school more unique and appealing. Here's a look at 10 of the tallest university buildings in the world.
10. Liberty Tower, Meiji University – Tokyo, Japan (390 feet)
Meiji University's Liberty Tower soars to a striking 390 feet (119 meters) over the city of Toyko, Japan. It has three campuses, spread across Kawasaki as well as Tokyo, and is one of the most highly regarded schools in the area. The university offers undergraduate degrees ranging from political science and economics to agricultural chemistry, and it also runs several graduate programs and has a school of law.
Liberty Tower was built to celebrate Meiji University's 120th birthday. Completed in 1998, it has become an icon of the institution. The structure is located on the university's 29,900-square-yard Surugadai Campus, which caters to approximately 20,000 students. And the tower also houses the university's impressive Central Library, featuring all the latest facilities.
9. University of Technology Tower – Sydney, Australia (394 feet)
Sydney, Australia is home to the University of Technology's 394-foot (120-meter) tall UTS Tower, which was opened in 1979. Unfortunately, the structure is something of an eyesore and has been proclaimed "Sydney's ugliest building" thanks to its dark concrete and brutalist architectural style. Some even contend that it was purposely designed to be unappealing in order to prevent the student body from gathering for large protests – the 1968 Paris student uprisings having occurred only a year before construction on the building began.
Whether or not there's any truth to this story, what's certain is that the building was erected because the university (then known as the New South Wales Institute of Technology) was full to capacity at its Brickfield Hill Campus and the institution had cash on hand. The university has a large number of different faculties, including arts and social sciences, law, and health.
8. Boissonade Tower, Hosei University – Tokyo, Japan (400 feet)
Located in the Chiyoda-ku borough of Tokyo, Hosei University's Boissonade Tower rises a full 400 feet (122 meters) into the sky over Japan. The building was completed in 2000 and is situated on the university's Ichigaya Campus. Although the campus is some way out from downtown Tokyo, it still has an urban feel, and the university is a favorite choice among high school applicants. Undergraduate faculties at the university include intercultural communication, law, and engineering and design, while graduate schools cover policy sciences, environmental management, and economics, among other areas.
Perhaps one of the reasons that Hosei University chose to build a skyscraper was because, historically, land costs have been high in Japan. In fact, in 1989, when the Japanese asset price bubble was at its peak, land prices were greater there than they were in any other country.
7. STEC Information Building, Kogakuin University – Tokyo, Japan (405 feet)
A towering presence in Tokyo's Shinjuku-ku borough, the STEC Information Building is 405 feet (123.5 meters) tall. The building is owned and operated by Kogakuin University, a higher education institute of technology that was established in 1887. In fact, Kogakuin University is among Japan's first private engineering schools, and it originally offered courses in metallurgical engineering and shipbuilding. In 1949, the school became chartered as a regular university, and it has since gone on to include postgraduate degree programs.
The STEC Information Building is part of the Shinjuku Campus and accommodates students from the faculties of global engineering, architecture and informatics. Construction on the 28-story structure began in 1989 and was finished in 1992.
6. Shinjuku Building, Kogakuin University – Tokyo, Japan (436 feet)
Staying with Kogakuin University, the institution's Shinjuku Building was Asia's tallest university building when it was completed in 1989. It soars to an impressive 436 feet (133 meters) and has 29 floors. The STEC Information Building and the Shinjuku Building were both designed in a modernist style by Nihon Sekkei Inc. And facilities at the Shinjuku Campus include a stylish atrium, an urban tech hall, a center for information science, and a library.
Kogakuin has exchange program agreements with 25 educational establishments around the globe, among them schools in Vietnam, Namibia, Finland, China, South Korea, France and the US. Besides offering students an opportunity to develop their academic abilities, these exchange programs help people gain what Kogakuin's website calls "international sensibilities."
5. Guanghua Twin Towers, Fudan University – Shanghai, China (461 feet)
Located in Shanghai, Fudan University's Guanghua Twin Towers rise an incredible 461 feet (140.5 meters) into the air. Fudan University was founded in 1905 and is considered one of China's top academic institutions, offering 70 different undergraduate degrees, 225 master's degrees and 153 doctorate degrees. Fudan is also part of Universitas 21, a worldwide group of research-focused universities.
Over 26,300 students are currently working towards a degree at Fudan University, while 18,664 are enrolled in its online and continuing education programs. International students also have a presence on campus and can take any of the degree programs offered. However, since most of the courses are taught in Chinese, international students must be proficient in the language.
4. Wabash Building, Roosevelt University – Chicago, USA (469 feet)
Roosevelt University took a big risk by going into debt to build the massive 469-foot (143-meter) tall Wabash Building in Chicago – but the potential for increased enrollment could just make it worthwhile. The structure was completed in 2012 and opened for use in the fall that same year. The 32-story building includes classrooms, laboratories, student services, and residences for over 600 Roosevelt University students.
The university affords incredible views and a dynamic life opportunity in a central location, and students are encouraged to really get involved with the experience of living in a city. "Roosevelt attracts fantastic students who want to explore diverse cultures, the performing and visual arts as well as the robust Chicago nightlife," says Sallye McKee, vice president for enrolment and student services. Roosevelt University also has a particular – and historical – focus on social justice, and it offers a wide variety of undergraduate, fast-track and graduate degrees.
3. Cathedral of Learning, Assumption University – Bangkok, Thailand (522 feet)
The Cathedral of Learning in Bangkok's Assumption University soars to a towering 522 feet (159 meters) in height. Built in 2002, the 39-story structure mimics the design of the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning – albeit in a more postmodern style. Assumption University is a Catholic institution of higher learning offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in subjects ranging from biotechnology to business administration. Some 19,800 students are currently enrolled at the university, including international students from 75 different countries.
According to President Emeritus Rev. Bro. P. Martin Komolmas, "It has always been my dream to build a Cathedral of Learning, and to create – in and around it – an atmosphere that is healthy and refreshing to the active mind, intellectually stimulating and spiritually fostering and enriching."
2. Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh – Pennsylvania, US (535 feet)
The University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning stands 535 feet (163 meters) tall and is a true architectural wonder. This neo-gothic structure was built between 1926 and 1936, under the direction of architect Charles Z. Klauder. The outside isn't the only elegant aspect of the building, either; the interior is equally lavish. The Commons Room is four stories high and features a vaulted ceiling and a green slate floor, making the space as visually appealing as it is grand. The Cathedral of Learning is the tallest educational building in the US – and indeed the Western hemisphere – and it is included on the National Register of Historic Places.
The University of Pittsburgh is known as one of the oldest colleges in the US and is noted for its emphasis on public research – as well as the part it played in producing the world's first vaccine for polio. Interestingly, a number of publications have ranked the university as leading the way in terms of good value and the quality of life it offers students.
1. Main Building, Moscow State University – Moscow, Russia (787 feet)
Moscow State University's Main Building is an astonishing 787 feet (240 meters) tall. Situated in the Sparrow Hills area of the Russian capital, this prestigious university has particularly good mathematics and natural sciences departments, yet it also offers degrees in a wide variety of other subjects, including journalism, geography, economics and performing arts. As well as being by far the world's tallest educational building, the structure was also Europe's tallest building up until 1990.
The building itself – along with six other imposing towers – was commissioned by Joseph Stalin and designed by architect Lev Vladimirovich Rudnev. It was completed in 1953 and today houses not only some of the university's faculties, but also administration services, a museum, a concert hall, a theater, a swimming pool, and even a bomb shelter. It's also interesting to note that the star that sits atop the central spire weighs a whopping 12 tons. All in all, it's quite an incredible feat of architecture.