Wednesday, September 9, 2009

We Will Rock U--Part Three

In 1959, Harrison & Abramovitz completed the Graduate Students Residence (GSR) and the Detlev W. Bronk Laboratory. GSR is very similar to Caspary, and the two were quite obviously conceived as a symmetrical pair on either side of the entrance roadway leading up to Founder's Hall.
Click to enlarge.
--All Rockefeller University photos ©2009, Ryan Witte.
For some reason, it's not bothering me as much on the eastern façade, but here on the west, I can't help but lament how much more beautiful it would be without those air conditioners poking ad hoc out of every window. I suppose it's preferable to sweltering hot interiors, but still a shame I think.

This little cantilevered balcony was a fantastic unexpected detail on the building:
Just past that on this level is the Child and Family Center and a courtyard playground, the entrance to which you can see here at bottom right:
It's unfortunate that it is a playground--with children in it--because it's one of the more truly magical parts of the campus. I didn't point my camera even slightly in the direction of any children, but it really doesn't matter. Any time you get a camera within 500 feet of anyone under eighteen years of age, people fly into a frenzy of indignation and their fingers start robotically dialing 911 as if possessed by the ghost of Megan Kanka. Bad taste? Probably, but it's true. Respectful though I was, I still had to be subjected to an interrogation by one of the chaperones: "What are you doing here?"

I'm abducting little children for sale on the black market. "I'm taking photographs of the campus buildings."


Um, yeah, that's why I have this visitor sticker in plain view on my shirt? I assured her no children would be in any photographs, but I'm sure she continued to watch me like a hawk until I was out of sight. Good thing I didn't wear my trench coat that day. Here's the courtyard:

It's another place, similar to the opposite end of Abby Aldrich, where the different levels are connected together in the most exquisite way. It's one of the most beautiful playgrounds I've seen; those are some seriously lucky kids who get to play there.

Up through there is the northern façade of the Bronk Lab building, which forms a high glass wall terminating this end of the tree corridor:

Bronk is remarkable in how completely different in character its north façade is from its south, in fact, it almost looks like a different building altogether:
Caspary/ Abby Aldrich, the GSR, and Bronk all present what were originally limestone, imposing facades to the outside, and far more open steel and glass curtain walls to the inside of the campus.

The 1960s were fairly quiet as far as new construction on the campus, but in 1964, Harrison & Abramovitz did build Sophie Fricke Hall, a beautifully proportioned and cosy residential building just to the southwest of the GSR:

More from over there in an upcoming post.

©2009, Ryan Witte

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