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Architectural Appreciation: Lerner

Maybe you’re not an engineer, so you had no idea what we were talking about when we explored Mudd a week ago. Aiming for a wider audience that might prefer slightly more open spaces, we take you on a tour of everyone’s favorite maze of ramps student center: Alfred Lerner Hall. Built in 1999 as part of Columbia’s efforts to anger the Y2K bug and confuse students trying to spell the word “learner,” it shows that Columbia’s campus planners learned nothing in the 33 years after completing Mudd.

 

You know, it actually blends into campus kinda nicely.

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And it does a pretty good job of hiding Carman’s much less interesting façade.

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I recommend using this entrance.

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You don’t want your entry into the building to depend on this evil device’s mood.

In fact, “choices” may be the best description of what navigating through Lerner feels like.

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Right when you walk in, you’re given five choices of ways to travel around the building. Four are depicted here.

We chose to go up the ramp first, since the ramps are the very heart and soul of Lerner Hall.

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They are all decorated with banners for student groups you’ve never heard of.

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And with these attractive new mats.

In fact, the ramps are surrounded by wonderful amenities.

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Lounges that manage to be dark despite being in a glass house.

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Benches that came straight out of M.C. Escher’s wet dream and ensure that it is impossible to have an eye-level conversation.

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An infinity of lockers, each of which has been opened exactly once.

Beautiful little couch areas, decorated with beautiful little paper plates and leftover salads.

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And even these nice welcoming doors! But open one…

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…and you’ll be reminded of Mudd’s hospital/prison/morgue feel.

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Hey, the Center for Student Advising is here! It is Columbia’s way of offering you easily accessible help, a mere 4 floors by elevator/3.5 flights of stairs/2o minute walk up the ramps.

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Ferris is here too; does anyone know where this “Lounge” is supposed to be?

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Bwog was out of meal swipes, but this picture of the Ferris staircase had to be included as a testimony to Columbia’s complete ineptitude with vertical transportation.

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If you make it to the top of Lerner, you can admire this beautiful view, including that weird bridge in the middle. when was the last time you ever thought, “Hey, I should go study there!”?

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And here is the SGO. I bet some really nice student publications meet there. Especially on Sundays, from 7-8.

Now let’s try to get back down using the stairs.

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Okay, so we went down that weird bridge and reached the end of the first flight. Where’s the next one?

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Oh, all the way over THERE. Across this goddamn PRECIPICE. I guess I’ll have to turn ALL THE WAY AROUND…

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Walk to the end of this FUCKING RAMP

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Turn left past a lounge where everyone is judging me because I’m being FORCED TO TAKE THIS FUCKING ODYSSEY TO CONTINUE GOING DOWN THE STAIRS.

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And those sneaky  bastards somehow disappear when you reach the correct ramp.

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Sorry, Bwog ragequitted and used superpowers to jump to the bottom, where we were welcomed by these charming doors to Roone Auditorium.

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At the bottom end of the bottom ramp, you’ll find Lerner Party Space.

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Which ironically was hosting exams at the time Bwog got there.

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But at least on your way out you can grab some nice coffee, hot food, or even sushi from one of the two cafés right outside it.

Which seem to be the only place in the building that doesn’t have enough intended “social meeting space.”

Speaking of social meeting space, Glass House Rocks is happening in Lerner tonight, starting at 8. Enjoy it, because it may be the only time of the year you enjoy being in that God-forsaken building.

A photographic Odyssey via Artur Renault

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9 Comments

  • Peaches says:

    @Peaches lol

    1. Peaches says:

      @Peaches By that I mean, yes, Lerner is a joke. Thanks, Bwog!

  • jake says:

    @jake If you can believe it, Lerner was actually designed by the extremely famous postmodern architect Bernard Tschumi. http://www.tschumi.com/projects/13/ Apparently the ramps are a “major innovation”…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Lerner Hall was built by one of the most famous architects in the world, Bernard Tschumi, and is one of the most acclaimed student centers in the US.

    1. alum says:

      @alum Correct. Most schools have concrete boxes. Harvard and Yale do not even have student centers, they rely on their college dorm8859923 151 lounges.

    2. anon says:

      @anon He was also Dean of the Architecture school at the time and they were given a substantial sum of money to hire someone acclaimed so he just hired himself out.

    3. lol says:

      @lol acclaimed doesn’t mean useful. I’d be happy with a concrete box that made more use of space.

  • what is with says:

    @what is with Bwog’s building fetish?

  • Please Bwog says:

    @Please Bwog do Schermerhorn, with the fancy museum on top, the tiny library on the 6th floor, the room with all the specimens on the fifth floor, the black spider on the main floor (in Mobb’s lab), the dilapidated Psychology Department in the basement, the secret passages to Amsterdam and the garage and the tunnels, plus the corridor that gets you to Mudd through a dark alley. You want adventure? Come to Schermerhorn, look for a bathroom, and lose yourself in the abyss.

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