Homeward Bound (with Windows)

I’m on my way home from vacation right now, sitting in the Portland airport, using the free wi-fi and enjoying for once the strange crowded solitude of an airport terminal. Spending a week on the road with a toddler was an interesting experience. I’m reminded of why it’s a good idea to have kids when you’re young.

Anyway, here’s all I have right now. It’s a very early photo of the faculty chamber. The light fixtures are ornate and attention grabbing, of course, but they aren’t what caught my eye here.

Faculty Chamber early windows

It’s the windows–or rather, the devices attached to them, which I’m thinking enabled someone on the floor to open them up, maybe with a pole or some such.

This is what it looks like now:


I suppose the advent of air conditioning rendered these clever things obsolete. I don’t know when they were removed but it must be after the decision in the early 1950s to begin cooling the buildings. And I hardly know what to say about the current inoffensive light fixtures. It’s as if they decided to go to the opposite extreme and make them as bland as possible.

Bonus: “Touch it!”20130611_101549_resized

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10 Responses to Homeward Bound (with Windows)

  1. Leoguy says:

    You’re correct, the windows were operated from below with a pole. Notice that the three windows in each bay are interlocked with a horizontal rod so all three could be opened or closed in unison.
    And yes, the current light fixtures are not going to win any accolades from me. They remind me of light fixtures commonly found in religious buildings.

  2. Leoguy beat me to it. Looks like the pole would rotate that horizontal rod and lift/slide a lower rectangular portion of the window upward as far as far as it would go (to the rounded top). I’ll just bet you’ve got a picture of them open somewhere.

  3. Deborah Gronke Bennett (BSEE Hanszen 1982) says:

    It is interesting to compare the ceiling in the two pictures. The older ceiling has exposed beams and open bays. The beams are all plain (no ornament). The newer ceiling has plaster in the bays, and I see the new beams have decorative ends.

  4. marmer01 says:

    Yep, they dropped the ceiling down to the level of the top of the windows. I don’t see any air ducts, (that’s the usual reason for lowering ceilings in older buildings), but it made the recessed light fixtures possible.

  5. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

    In my 4 years at Rice, I seldom visited inside Lovett.
    I was always afraid someone would say, “Pratt? Oh yes, I’ve been meaning to talk to you.”
    Or something similar.

    I have never seen most of those rooms that you show in that building.
    Are they available for viewing now, on some tour or another.

    (I am hesitant to do so, however, inasmuch as I have finally quit having nightmares about missing a final or submitting a Term Paper.)
    (In fact, I dreamed about 2 classmates last night and am fearful of what that meant!)

  6. marmer01 says:

    That’s OK, Gene. I’ve been at Rice for thirty-odd (some of them _very_ odd) years and I’ve been above the first floor of Lovett Hall about three times. All when my Dean had to give some kind of presentation or another and needed tech support.

  7. Milton Bagby says:

    Yep–we had windows similar to those in my old elementary school. Was always an honor to be asked to raise or lower the top ones. Memories of fans blowing our class work and white t-shirts after lunch.

  8. Keith Cooper says:

    You can see the last remining light fixture of that group in the Pitman Tower of the Humanities building. How it got there is a story for others to telll …

  9. Sam says:

    These renovations are horrendous. With no attention paid to the original architecture, it’s an act of vandalism.

  10. Pingback: “Interior cloister towards north between second and third floors” | Rice History Corner

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