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Sr. Aquinas Weber Hall: A Beauty

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Photo courtesy of Campus Safety 

Story by Mason Glanville, Columnist

In my humble opinion, the new science building is not hideous.

Since the facade was put on over the course of our long winter, I have heard numerous negative opinions of the architecture of Sr. Aquinas Weber Hall, the new expansion of the Albertus Magnus hall of science.

Thoughts of my peers range from frustration with the blue-tinted windows to rage at the betrayal of pure modernism committed with the large tiled protrusion on the west of the atrium. Even I have thought that the atrium is a forfeiture of our idealism about sustainability; it is a gigantic sealed greenhouse which we will have to air condition every day the warm sun shines.

In the face of this unsolicited criticism, I would like to publicly defend the building as more than an architectural decorator’s item for our 117-acre campus. When it all boils down, the structure is worth so much more than its looks.

The ongoing project is the culmination of over 30 million College dollars, thousands of hours of manual labor, and decades of patience from the deprived science faculty, many of whom have been sweating like packed sardines in a concrete and glass monstrosity for huge portions of their professional careers.

If you have ever been inside the old building (it is not too late to do so), you know that it is dark, odorous, and visually sad to begin with. Throw on top of that the stoic masochism of scientists by nature, and you have the perfect recipe for psychic suffering. Many of us have beheld, from within, the haggard cathedral of the two most dreaded gen-ed requirements: the science lecture, and worse, the science lecture… with lab.

With the new building, Aquinas College and all of its people will be making a major technological (and aesthetic) leap into the twenty-first century, a hurdle which in some cases appears to have been neglected by the institution since dawn of this millennium or earlier.

I have not been inside the new wing since it was mere steel and concrete, but I can tell from heavenly glimpses through the windows that good things are in store for all those of us who have waited. Just look at the shiny, glass fume hoods on the third floor or either one of the thrilling sky bridges.

While each and every one of us is entitled to our opinion about the aesthetics of architecture, none of us have any right to be ungrateful for the mere fact of the improvement which is about to smack us in the face.

So if the beams in the atrium bum you out, or the carpet just isn’t right, please remember the bigger picture. Some of us are here to learn science, and we are filled with eagerness to have surroundings that reflect our excitement for the future.

Maybe one day we will collectively agree that the architectural whims of the late 20-teens were atrocious, but before that time comes, keep your negativity on the inside and let our scientists have their moment.

Categories: Columns, Opinion, Uncategorized

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