Every once in a while I get the urge to walk over and pull things off the shelves at random. Even after all these years there is so much in the archives that I haven’t seen. Parts of the collection I know extremely well because I’m very intentionally using them for research. So it’s randomness–the opposite of intentionality–that becomes the means of discovery.
In the course of such a recent exploration I came across this useful little document:
It contains drawings of the interior layouts of the dormitories from their construction through the changes that were current at the time it was compiled in 1945. The bland title gives no hint that there’s something beautiful inside, but there is. Look at this–South Hall in 1912. Zoom in and look closely:
And now the same floor plans, circa 1942. I especially appreciate the dramatic change in drawing and lettering style. The layout remains roughly the same, but these drawings reflect two very different worlds:
Bonus: A loyal reader sends this photo of Rayzor 110, taken sometime before the building was renovated in 2003, probably in the late ’90s.
It’s almost certainly the same room as the one in this photo from last week, twenty or so years earlier:
I remember taking a class there in the mid-90s so I can personally swear that sometimes the chairs were set up normally.
Apparently “debating” had fallen out of favor during the 30 elapsed years… 🙂 The “debating rooms have been converted to doubles.
The chair-desks are clearly NOT the ones that were in Physics in the ’60s as was suggested in comments on the previous post These are lighter weight, have nicely rounded edges, and a shiny finish. They were actually comfortable to sit in. The ones in Physics Amphitheater were a little taller and constructed of wood that was thicker. The edges were much less round and the finish was not as good.
I still would like to have one of the old uncomfortable wooden desks from the Physics Amphitheater. I think Mech Lab had a colony of them when I was there in the 70’s. It was always a bit surreal to go from a class in Phys Amp to one across the Quad in Sewall with “modern” furniture. Looks the same on the outside, but the flavor is different inside!
I also miss the badly worn and dished out marble steps in the older buildings. I know they were a safety hazard, but it sure gave me a visual sense of how many footsteps I was following. I was first struck by that going up the stairs in Lovett Hall on my way to my admissions interview, and it was both humbling and reassuring.
I, too, would love to have a few of the old Physics Lecture desks. Back when I worked for Rice in the late 90s, there were a bunch stored in the basement of Lovett Hall.
I ended up somehow with one of them where the desk arm had been removed. Chair #42, a good, solid chair.
Looks like the first floor in 1912 had some kind of little suite with an internal bath next to the Skype, I mean slype. Maid or resident associate’s room, maybe? Gone by ’42. Also, if you were a woman visiting I guess there was no place for you to go potty. I seem to remember that was an issue when Abercrombie Lab opened, too, but that may just be apocryphal.
Not apocryphal at all. By the time I was there in 1978, the first floor bathroom had been awkwardly divided so the women got a tiny room with one stall and a corner sink barely big enough for your two hands. If you went into the much larger men’s room next door it was obvious it was originally one larger restroom.
Room 108 was the WRC president’s room when I was there. It was a great room, but it was also really handy to have the prez in the middle of everything.