Earlier this week I had a peek at a lab that’s being renovated over in Abercrombie. Happily, this gives me my first opportunity to use that aerial Raymond Brochstein brought in–what we’re talking about is at the very far northern end of the building where you can see a long horizontal strip of window:
I was at first quite taken with those windows, which extend around the side and provide beautiful light to the room:
But then I looked up and saw what had been hidden for years behind an ugly drop ceiling:
I knew instantly where I’d seen it before:
That was September, 1949.
Bonus: I very nearly lost my cell phone today in my excitement over seeing a blimp behind Lovett Hall.
Pre and post refrigerated air design concepts. Many buildings in Houston and at Rice were designed to have high operable windows to let heat out, usually accompanied by low openings on a shaded side of the building such as under a cloister. After adding refrigerated air systems, ceilings were lowered, providing a space for ducting, perhaps some insulation, and reducing the volume of air to be conditioned. It might be more comfortable, but it wrecked the original ambiance of many spaces. I’m not sure, but I seem to remember that some of that end of Abercrombie still had the original high ceilings; I seem to remember a Chem-Eng lab that was that way. No idea if it had been fitted with refrigerated air or not. Hopefully the renovation will be kinder to the original fabric of the building. Homely as it was, it had its industrial charm.
Interesting how the tall windows are still there above the drop ceiling level. Must be some archived dirt on the inside of those.