Pining For The Ath

When you graduate from college, you don’t anticipate missing things like school buildings, classwork, and annoying neighbors. Or at least, what you do expect to miss are the people who you used to be able to visit in less than a 5 minute walk. Though I miss my roommates and friends a great deal, I’ve begun oddly growing nostalgic and pining after a building that I once would ceaselessly ridicule:

Image courtesy of Goucher College

Sometimes called “the fishbowl” or to a few the ‘hollow building’, this massive construction of glass, copper, and stone was one of the more bizarre buildings to surface during my time at Goucher. ‘The Ath’ was one of few buildings in my academic career that I was able to see come to fruition as a student: I left after my high school was rebuilt and I fear I will not see the Julia Rogers renovations until I’m marching in the Alumni Weekend parade (scary thought). But what was so lovable about the Ath? What wasn’t I missing? Here is what I came up with:

Things that I didn’t love about the Ath:

Too empty. Even on a crowded day, the high ceilings and empty center surrounding Hyman Forum often felt like empty, as if there was a giant void in the heart of the building. For a building that was supposed to be a ‘crowning jewel’, it felt as if someone forgot to set the diamond.

Image courtesy of Nicholas Garrison

Alice’s bagel-thieves. If you attended Goucher during the inception of Alice’s, then you must have at least once had your food stolen while you were grabbing a table or receiving a smoothie from the opposite end of the counter. It seems petty, ridiculous, and somewhat comical, but after a long day of studying (or after you feel you’ve bombed a test) that stolen bagel usually was a day-ruiner. Similarly, when you emerged from your den in the library stacks at early as 4 or 5 AM, having your food stolen wasn’t really a great way to start the day.

Image courtesy of Cindy Davies

Concerts vs. Students. Perhaps there was a design flaw, or perhaps it was always the idea to never full sound proof the library. Either way, whenever there was a concert or speaker in the Ath, the sound would always bleed through to the library. Most disruptive were the African drum and dance performances, that while amazingly awesome in their entirity…were not conducive to doing research.

Image courtesy of RMF Engineering

Constant Printer Deaths. I feel as though anyone in ISP will understand this one. When one Ath printer dies, they all commit ritual suicide it seems.

Image courtesy of the Chronicle

Things I loved about the Ath:

Nooks and Crannies: Though not as good as the hidey-holes in Julia Rogers, the Ath had many corners and spaces in which students could crawl and make their study den. For those of us who socialized like normal human beings, there were also plenty of study desks, computers, and study stables to work at.

Image courtesy of The Chronicle

Impromptu Gym. Though many people would complain about the random assortment of workout equipment on the mezzanine level (or top-tier or whatever its called) it was especially nice when you hit a mental roadblock. Having those up there gave you the option to either drown yourself in a freshly made smoothie and pastry, or exercise like a madman until you gained inspiration (or gave up and went to Alice’s for a smoothie).

Image courtesy of Design Hole

More TVs Than You Can Handle. For no apparent reason, there were tons of TVs in the Ath. Between the unusual re-runs of Supernatural and bad reality TV going in Alice’s, the troops of students racing to watch required movies for class, and the select few that watched cartoons full-tilt, there was no shortage of TV time. Not only that, but you could always count on at least 1/2 of the library to counter the TVs with constant Hulu abuse.

No, this is not an image from the Ath. Image courtesy of Arch City Homes

Bragging Rights. Well there is always the obvious reason: It’s LEED certified, its eco-fab, “green”, all the window shades do their own thing, and the windows in the library let you watch the sunset (while the Ath watches you sweat through your take home exam). It’s a pretty baller building over all.

Image courtesy of Jeff Tryon via Library Journal

On more about The Athenaeum (The Ath), check out its fancy schmancy website or follow its hysterical twitter!

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