I like this guy’s style:
It turned up in Dr. Bill’s stuff, by the way, undated.
Bonus: I don’t understand this either.
I started out in West Hall in the Fall of 1956 before moving to Wiess in April 1957 at the beginning of the College System. I have never seen this sign, and it does not make much sense to me.
The weird thing is that it’s in Duncan Hall. So I’m not sure what’s being named–is it the hallway itself?–and if it’s named for Josephine Abercrombie why isn’t it called Abercrombie Hall?
Or maybe Abercrombie Hallway!
That’s in Duncan Hall. Note the floor pattern.
Oops Melissa beat me to it. Josephine Abercrombie was Vice Chair of the Board (IIRC) during part of the interval from the creation of the CS Department to the completion of Duncan Hall. It is my understanding that she was supportive overall. Perhaps the wording was chosen to avoid confusion with Abercrombie Lab? Keith was heavily involved in the building and undoubtedly knows more.
Although it’s not visible in the photograph, the terrazzo floor in that hallway also features a pin oak leaf, which was intended as a subtle reference to the name of Josephine Abercrombie’s horse farm.
Most discussions of Duncan Hall and its design rationale take a quick dive into the architect’s philosophy of interior and exterior design. I will try to keep that to a minimum.
Duncan Hall, on paper, had two main focal points: the Main Hall (surrounded by classrooms, meeting rooms, and the auditorium — external collaboration) and the West Hall (the other entrance). The West Hall is surrounded by spaces for internal collaboration — two smaller conference rooms, three open plan, open ceiling labs, the outworking spaces on the second floor (the missing office) and the third floor (on the bridge).
The West Hall is the confluence of the “rivers” that flow down the staird in Outram’s design and the floor has a image intended to represent the whirlpool formed by that confluence. Floating in that whirlpool are, as Dan McCormick points out, a pair of pin oak leaves — an homage to Pin Oak Farm.
Ms. Abercrombie played a number of critical roles in the development of Duncan Hall. She chaired the B&G subcommittee of the board during the search for an architect. She was personally involved in selecting Outram as architect. She was a significant donor to the campaign for Computational Engineering. As I recall, John Outram himself suggesting naming the West Hall for Ms. Abercrombie. Know John as I do, I suspect that he truly liked the idea of putting her name and her icon — the pin oak leaves — at the center of what he conceived as the collaborative center of Duncan Hall.
Wow! So interesting. Thanks, Keith, for this information.
(Now I’d love to see a photo of that whirlpool on the floor. 🙂 )
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