Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New Academic Building Tour

today i went on a tour Cooper Union's NAB (New Academic Building). I must admit, as its been shaping up on the outside, I'm kinda proud of us for producing something pretty cool looking. its much better than the model/renderings that i saw. A bunch of people went on the tour, one of them being none other than Mr. Owen Soloman, the man who controls everything that goes in and out of the foundation building and can remember your name even if you graduated in 1992. We agreed it was shaping up nicely and was pretty darn exciting overall.

The upper floors gave me sense of moving within space which and not formerly been occupied by humans ever before. Years ago, when i worked for Amazon Movers, we moved a woman into a condo in the 60's on the west side. the space was brand spanking new, it had no sense of history, it contained views of the city never seen before by anyone except maybe the construction guys who built the building. this was such a different feeling from most of everywhere else in the city, which had been trodden on and lived in a million times over. it had no resonance unlike apartments in my neighborhood of the lower east side. i guess i was shocked that a space like that could still exist in the city. funny thinking back on that now, because a million more spaces like that have been built over the last few years. walking in the upper floors of the NAB felt like this to me. space i previously could have never imagined occupying.

The Hewitt building, which was torn down for this new building, was only 2 stories high but very grand inside. it had 3 underground levels, the third one was pretty small, but still noteworthy i think. i have pictures from a tour we did before its destruction, but they are all on film. i'll have to post some at a later date. originally built in the 1920's i believe, it was meant to rise 7 stories. the popular myth on campus was that an underground river flowed beneath it, and it began to sink and therefore couldn't be built any taller than 2 stories. today i learned that it was probably a combination of lack of funds, and very sandy soil on the northern end which was very hard to build on. the building had massive bomb-proof girders in its foundation, and proved very hard to the demo crew to remove. i also have some pictures somewhere of the demo crew and its mesmerizing backhoe operating clearing out rubble.

but now, picture from todays tour. i don't know yet if the building we be as functional as they say it will be, but it will be mighty pretty. Some of these are blurry i know, it was getting dark outside already at 4:30.

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