The Real Life Buildings That Helped Inspire The Monsters University Campus

Monsters University Campus

Monsters University has dominated the box office since its release two weeks ago and part of its success may be due to the extraordinary effort the Pixar animation team put in to make the movie as realistic as possible, even down the titular college campus setting.

In preparation for the film, the California-based Pixar team took trips to local schools UC Berkeley and Stanford, and went across the country to check out Harvard, Princeton, and MIT. 

These campus visits helped the animators create a collegiate environment that while not based on any one school, had a mix of California and East Coast university traditions, Robert Kondo, Monster University’s Art Director for Set Design & Shading, told us.

Kondo told Business Insider that because a lot of the animators went to art school, they traveled to these campuses to get an understanding of a more all around university experience. More than looking at specific buildings, though, Kondo said — as only an art school grad could — that the team went to “absorb the feeling” of their element.

The movie has sparked some online debate over the buildings at Monsters University, as various students across the country try and claim specific landmarks as their own. This fits in pretty nicely with Pixar’s goal of creating a unique yet relatable campus laden with “ritual” and “tradition.”

Based on this online discussion and the campuses Pixar chose, we went through and picked out some buildings that might have been inspiration points for the Monsters University creators. 

One of the most visible structures on any campus is the clock tower, such as this one found at Monsters University.

Although a different colour, Berkeley's Sather Tower seems to be a close cousin.

The scenic campus of Monsters University also features the Troll Bridge, which is much more pleasant than its name would suggest.

You can see the almost mirror image at Harvard, with the Weeks Footbridge spanning the Charles River, and the Eliot House cupola in the background.

The Monsters University campus boasts several classic red brick buildings.

An aesthetic that may have come from Harvard Yard.

Some Monsters University students' walk to class takes them underneath archways.

Stanford students have the same privilege.

The centrepiece of the Monsters University campus is arguably the School of Scaring.

The columns and domed roof recall MIT's iconic Great Dome.

The amphitheater at Monsters University can pack in what seems like the whole school.

It seems to take a bit of its structure and style from Berkeley's Greek Theatre.

As the entrance to a campus, a school's gates typically remind visitors of history and tradition.

Berkeley students are claiming that the Monsters University entrance looks like their Sather Gate...

But we think its closer to Princeton's FitzRandolph Gate.

Now that you've seen the Monsters University campus, check out one of the most beautiful schools in New York.

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