How potentially lovely the Japanese pond at the Conservatory is. Unfortunately, filling it with water to give it that pond-like quality would cause damage to the recently-renovated TIMARA lab, even if the cracked basin were repaired with the best available materials, according to John Jacobson, Assistant Dean of the Conservatory.
He said the cost of repairs is "not a consideration" but rather the unobtainable guarantee that the pond would not leak into the basement of Bibbins.
Conservatory sophomore Jeremy Stoner said, "I can't believe I have to go through the mental anguish of looking at the fucking empty pond at the Conservatory every single day."
Out of concern for brevity the following account will address other aesthetic architectural aspects around town that have gone awry, rather then regarding everything that does not work at Oberlin.
Despite a renovation in the '80s of Warner Concert Hall to correct "severe acoustical problems . . . there still remain problems with the stage area," Professor of Organ David Boe said. Reflections between the stage floor and the ceiling above it cause distortion, Boe explained, which could be minimized if one were to "spray a substance on the ceiling," as was done in Carnegie Hall in New York.
It is almost impossible to resist delving into the fundamental renovations of the Conservatory made necessary by the lack of foresight when the building was constructed. Because energy was cheap in the '60s, the walls were not created with good insulation in mind, and moisture condensed and froze on the inside of the windows. An inner wall with windows was built throughout the Con in the '70s.
A favorite delightful spot in Oberlin is the Allen Memorial Art Museum, with its red-tile roof and sandy brick walls, in addition to its fine collection within. The courtyard is nice, too, although the dinky pipe pouring water into the fountain in the center diminishes the overall serenity. "It looks sort of silly," said Leslie Miller, Assistant to the Director of the museum.
Long ago, a 19th-century Japanese dragon with an incense burner installed with pipes graced the fountain. Now, many years later, the dragon's projected return from repair at a conservation laboratory in Massachusetts is for May, Miller said.
That Oberlin is built on a swamp is common knowledge.That Mudd is sinking into said swamp is rumor, according to Ray English, Director of Libraries. "As best I know, the myth of Mudd sinking dates back to an April Fool's Review issue in the '70s," he said. Besides the main doors, which require all of one's weight to push them open, the library joins the ranks of many of Oberlin's energy-inefficient structures. Mudd is included herein simply to dispel the rumor of its troublesome architecture.
As the weather finally improves, Obies get anxious about maximizing outdoor time to hack, lie under the sun, eat. Unfortunately, the balconies of Stevenson cannot serve as a dining area because of the possibility of an emergency. Director of Campus Dining Services David Jensen said, "The only thing that they're used for is egress" in the case that the building must be evacuated. Because Oberlin's fire marshal said the balconies, in a time of emergency, would not be large enough to hold the number of people who dine at Stevenson in addition to tables and chairs, they have no general use, Jensen said.
"Wilder needs a facelift," said Michele Gross, Director of Operations of the Student Union Conference Center. With no air conditioning and insufficient room for the Snack Bar, WOBC, The Voice and the 'Sco, as well as many other services, "the Student Union needs a renovation, an annex or a new building," Gross said. As one of the key locations on campus, the Student Union deserves attention paid to its shortcomings caused by its change in the '60s from a men's dorm to a student union. "It's time for some kind of improvement," Gross concluded.
Staying Put (Top): Despite often repeated rumors, Mudd seems to be architecturelly secure, and most likely not sinking. (photo by Nicole Wright)
Missing one key ingredient... (Bottom): The ever-empty Conservatory pond, an example of Oberlin architecture gone awry. (photo by Nicole Wright)
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 18; March 15, 1996
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