Open space

Returning students are in for shock.  For forty years, the center of the Williams College campus was occupied by a brick box plopped down from some midwestern corporate park.  Where that building was, now is open space, and the most amazing thing, besides the views opened up, is how big it is — what a volume has been displaced!

And how bare it is, as of late August.  Obviously, it will be much more welcoming when the landscaping is done, and work proceeds apace.

I’ve resumed conversations with the College’s Director of Libraries David Pilachowski, and recently accompanied a tour he was giving for the library building committee of another school, who were swooning with desire over what Williams has created.

I must say that on first visit to the New Sawyer Library, my reaction to the building, both exterior and interior, was that it was all too much, too much of everything — materials, colors, shapes, textures, spaces, seating options.  But on each succeeding visit, I appreciate more of all that the building is.  The planners and architects labored to answer every need, and do it in exuberant and playful style.

I’ll be back with more updates, as the landscaping is completed, and the students return.  And as I talk with librarians about their experience of the building.  Once all construction is finished, I’ll take you with me on an illustrated tour of the whole project.