Axis to access

I’m not sure of the exchange rate between words and pictures – it can’t really be a thousand to one, can it? – but in talking about the new library quadrangle at Williams, pictures seem more telling than any words I can muster.  The site is a sight, and can hardly be imagined by anyone who hasn’t set foot on it in the past two months.  I visited with a camera twice at the peak of foliage season, and put together this visual essay.

I’ve heard a number of people credited with the idea, but for at least the fifty years since Greylock Quad was built, campus planners have suggested an east-west pedestrian axis other than Route 2.  Now it’s a reality, and beyond what the designers could have hoped.  It seems to bring the mountains right onto the campus in an unexpected way.

The axis reaches its destination, both literal and metaphorical, in the access services atrium that joins old Stetson to new Sawyer, and proceeds into the atrium of the new library, implicitly continuing through four floors of glazing into the landscape beyond, toward the hairpin turn on the Mohawk Trail in the distance.

I’ll go around and into the old/new library on my next illustrated tour, but here I concentrate on a pictorial description of the privileged position the library now occupies on the Williams campus.  Click through for more photographs.

Access east 3

Approaching from the west, between frosh dorm Sage Hall on the left and Paresky Center on the right.

Access east 1

Access east 2

Views from second floor balcony of Paresky.

Quad view from Paresky

Quad view from Paresky telephoto

Views from quad, with Pine Cobble in background.

Quad view of Pinecobble 3

Quad view of Pinecobble 2

Observe the blending of old and new buildings in a manner that previous Sawyer did not achieve, with new slate roof of Stetson matched to west facade of New Sawyer.

Quad view telephoto

Looking west from entrance to Stetson.

Axis west from Stetson entrance

Observe Chapin Drive, which will be repaved as a pedestrian plaza closed to through vehicle traffic.

Axis west 1

Axis west 2

To Greylock Quad and the Taconic Range beyond.

Axis west telephoto