Looking Down at Campus, 2023 and 1957

The instant I first got to the top of O’Connor I knew I was going to post this. You might remember that a while ago I put up a batch of photos taken by David Davidson ’58 from atop a radio antenna located in one of the notches in Abercrombie that existed before the wings were filled in. Davidson stood up there and took pictures pretty much all the way around campus and towards downtown and as I stood on the fifth floor deck I realized that I could do the same. The angle isn’t identical, and some shots are impossible to replicate because there are now other things in the way. For a couple of them I had to get all the way up on the roof to even get close. But even so the transformation of our space, which seems so slow in the day to day, is revealed to be dramatic.

Here are a few comparison shots, with a few more to follow later. First, the engineering quad:



Towards the stadium:


Towards Fondren and the Med Center:

Question: Can anyone tell me what if anything is the purpose of the octagonal structure on top of Mudd Lab (see 2023 image of the engineering quad)?

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6 Responses to Looking Down at Campus, 2023 and 1957

  1. Martin A Merritt says:

    It’s probably an architectural element that hides HVAC or air vents. There’s one on McNair Hall, too.

  2. Galloway Hudson (Wiess '60) says:

    Thanks, Melissa. With my failing vision, I first read your lead as “Lockdown on campus”. I was there for the lockout in 1957, after the Owls beat the No. 1 Aggies, 7-6, so I was a little disappointed; but the look down was quite interesting also. I assume you have covered the 1957 lockout a time or two in the past.

  3. Gerald Moorhead FAIA says:

    I designed the Seeley G. Mudd Computer Science Laboratory, 1981-1983, when I was Project Architect with Charles Tapley Associates. We were in the midst of Postmodernism at the time and Mudd was conceived to reference many of the design features and architecture vocabulary of Ralph Adams Cram’s original Rice buildings. Towers, cupolas, aediculae, etc. are vertical accents found in some form on all the early buildings. We gave Mudd a vertical identity (this was at the far edge of campus at the time) with a lantern form (it may have some flues in it, but the object is there for spacial composition and visual connection to the campus). It visually related to the Campanile to the east on the Mech Lab. The Board was very involved with the project and many aspects did not work out as nicely as we architects would have liked.. But the west porch is very nice.
    Gerald Moorhead. FAIA

  4. John Marsh says:

    I also wondered about that octagonal structure on top of Mudd; had a tour of the O’Connor building recently and saw that for the first time.

  5. effegee says:

    Melissa, functionally the octagonal structure admits light to the grand stairway beneath it.

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