21 January 2019
We did our monthly building walk in Hayden tower with the contractors this week and for the first time in a while there was really visible progress. Outside the building the terrace – wider and better landscaped than ever – is fully there; Jennie Duvernay called attention to the smart re-use of the old granite facing from the first and second floors to give accent and texture to the planters on the terrace, planters that will hold vegetation that will help shade those spaces to mitigate the sun. On the east side of the building, moreover, the big new construction for building mechanicals is suddenly taking shape. It’s basically a masonry shed that will hold equipment that would otherwise have to take up floor space in the tower. The two sources where we’re getting net new floor space are the old moat mostly filled in and the mechanicals moved outside. (Former Haydenites may remember on various floors doors that never opened and seemed to go to nothing – there were mechanical rooms all over the place.)
But inside is where you can really begin to see what’s coming. On the upper concourse, the metal studs framing all the spaces are now in and you can begin to walk through classroom, office, and informal spaces with a sense of how they will come together. For example, when you come up from the 1989 extension, there will now be an accessible and surprisingly broad terrace with seating areas and access to some reservable ‘enclaves’ for group study and the like.
That’s the floor that will be the most student-centric, homelike, and deliberately comfortable, even while the new spaces for the conservation lab and the staff office suite are there as well.
It’s also possible now on the first and second floors to get a real sense for how open and light and airy those spaces will be, both for the new glass outer walls but also for the two places, hard to describe, where a stairs from the main floor down to the upper concourse and a small new atrium opening between first and second floors will give up a small amount of floor space but gain a real sense of openness. The old atrium on the west side will also be much less hemmed in, with more views in several directions, and already feels larger than it used to, even though it is in fact exactly the same size.
Higher up in the building, they’re actually putting in the drywall for the ‘wizard spaces’ on the third floor and shaping up the more open spaces of the fourth floor book and silent study floor.
Throughout the building conversation has now advanced to the details of furnishing designed to support different kinds of use. We are fortunate to be working with Wanda Dalla Costa, Herberger Institute professor and architect, to incorporate design elements in some of the building finishes to honor indigenous cultures. This week we put to the designers/contractors that we should be able to do a little low-cost design and decoration work that makes the classrooms brighter and more lively places. I said we should have the coolest classrooms on campus. We’ve got some ideas but – suggestions welcome!
And we’re still on track to open the upper concourse for classes in August and the rest of the building by the first of the year 2020. It’s all beginning to get real.