Architectural aficionado Alexandra Eynon ventures through that weird little stairway into that weird—nay, that AMAZING—little space known to the masses as the Carman Mezzanine. What otherworldly mysteries lay within? Only time—and this floorhop—will tell.
The Carman mezzanine is an architectural anomaly, consisting of a pair of suites tucked snugly next to the elevator shaft. What the seven residents lack in hall space, however, they make up for in decoration and affection. The passage of the seasons is marked by floor-wide decorations, including copious valentines and paper lanterns (by Kiersten Utter, Nancy Zhang, and Cat Johannet CC’15) strung according to the Fibonacci sequence.
The real magic started, though, when Alan Lee CC’15, was alone over Christmas break. He reacted to boredom by creating elaborate tape wall decorations, including a Pieta and a Dali-esque clock, continuing an illustrious Columbia tradition of creative dorm room taping. When pressed about this choice of artistic expression, Alan said that although he’s never had formal classes, a love of art runs in his family, which includes an artist and model sister and a gospel-signing father. He added simply “I didn’t think it was a big deal but other people thought it was cool, so I kept doing it.” The tape art quickly spread into the hallway, where Alan created a giant “Keep Calm and Mezz On” piece, complete with an authentic Columbia crown.
Of course, like most things on the mezz , the rest of the floor soon got involved. Spongebob characters began to proliferate in the hall, and Nate Posey, CC’15, used his own budding tape talents to add a portrait of Sandy the Squirrel to those of Patrick, Gary the Snail, and Plankton. Most importantly though, Cat threw in, “the characters are members of the floor”–they each represent one of the seven residents. They credit the Graduate Hall Manager, Keith Blankenship, living on their floor with encouraging their creative endeavors, adding that “he was hurt when we didn’t decorate his door for Valentine’s Day.”
Besides decorating, communal mezzanine activities include a long standing Starcraft rivalry between Alan and Nate, weekly “Vampire Diaries” viewing sessions for the girls, and study breaks and parties, which they will soon be able to attend wearing matching Carman Mezz lacrosse pinnies, if they so choose. They’re all happy to be living on what could be an alarmingly small floor, although Alan says they have to “try to counter the stereotype that people on the mezz are anti-social.”
When asked if he had any new taping projects in the works, Alan said that he’d been distracted by music lately, but that he was confident that his floor-mates would keep the mezz well-decorated.