Tuesday, May 4, 2010
On the 5th floor, the majority of litter is comprised of paper scraps. Three Design computer labs yield toxicity in monitor radiation and fine-powdered toner. The print room yields toxicity in paper dust filling the air, toner cartridges, and a film-processor using harsh chemicals. Technicians' offices yield mild toxicity in the form of clutter and the mystery of strange technology.
Next, the 4th floor. The Sound and Video students do their best work at night, when there are no classes taking place. Without a round-the-clock monitor chastising food and drink around the equipment, as the 5th floor labs have, the majority of litter comes from soda cans and coffee cups, vital caffeine for late-night creativity. All three sound and video studios yield toxicity in the form of various machinery radiation and the threat of strangulation/tripping on yards and yards of tangled wire strewn here and there.
Once we enter the 3rd floor, the floor plan widens dramatically and the possibility for filth increases. The Fosdick-Nelson gallery, Holmes Auditorium, and the lobby offer three usually-spotless sanctuaries, and balance out the floor's averaged level of cleanliness to give it the third spot, rather than the fourth, for the rampant chemicals and toxic substances available in the Print space. A thick Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) hangs on the wall, covered in a thick layer of dust, an ominous reminder that most of the students snoozed during the informative safety lecture and have no idea how dangerous the materials they work with truly are. In a dark corner of the print room, an acid bath sits, waiting for students to plunge their be-gloved hands into it to retrieve the metal plate that the acid has been eating. A roaring fan sucks the fumous air away from delicate student lungs. In the main Print space, Mean Green and mineral oils sit on the tables, dozens of spray bottles and metal cans. The inks they use are not worthy of sink or trash can, yet are cleansed with special red rags, sent away to be recycled. Rubber or latex gloves are a staple on this floor, but less to avoid the horrible substances infiltrating one's bloodstream and more to avoid staining one's hands an incriminating shade of puce. One's fingers are always at risk, with the various cutting devices--including the aptly-named guillotine--used for anything from paper to sheets of metal.
Moving down towards the 2nd floor, the floorplan once again widens, nearly doubling in size. This floor is home to the splattered, streaked walls of the Painting studios, the unchecked chaos of the Foundations space and the haunting, deceptively clean Photo space. Paint: oil, acrylic, watercolor, none of it meant to linger on skin, yet it coats every surface in the Painting wing. Another MSDS hangs on the wall, heralding the dangers of turpentine and "all-natural" paint thinners. Angry signs in the nearby bathrooms admonish students who would wash their filthy brushes in the bathroom sinks, when industrial sinks wait in the classrooms for their spoils. The mess spreads slowly, like Purple Loose-Strife, into the hallways. This disaster pales in comparison to the horror of the Foundations space. Like the calm before a storm, if ever it is empty, it means that an Assignment looms near, waiting for students to begin their frenzy the night before it is due. Students claim their sectors with wild abandon, scraps of tape and streaks of paint, charcoal dust and piles of paper tubes marking their territory. Glue smears on every surface, strange materials gathering to its stickiness. Students fill the tables with supplies and the floorspace with chairs and easels. When the Assignments are near completion, fascinating works of art are put on display, whether it be 50 ink drawings of a tormented psyche or a dozen massive inflated-plastic sculptures. Inevitably, the mess is still there, yet mostly thrust aside for critiques. We move, then, to the Photo space, passing the Moka Joka. The Moka Joka, a student-run coffee counter, is a fine example of a successful business operating outside sanitation laws. Food is prepared by gloveless (but not loveless) hands for that extra flavor, and butter and cream cheese sit unrefrigerated on the counter. Down the hall, one enters the Photo space and is greeted by an unfamiliar scent, that of no less than six highly toxic chemicals engulfing the space in fumes. The hallways seems relatively clean, the floor only slightly dirty. However, photo chemicals are clear, and the eye does not see the splashes, the spills, the splatters. This is not a place to put food down without a napkin; best leave that to the Moka Joka. The darkrooms are even more deceptive, as the dim safety bulbs illuminate the eerie scene in a saturated, yellow glow. Students are encouraged to wear gloves when dealing with chemicals, but the finesse required for the enlargers often dictate that hands are bare. Tubs of noxious chemicals sit in a massive sink, ready to wash away the highly toxic fluids. If one but turns on the lights, one sees the horror that the darkroom personnel must clean each and every morning; the dark stains on the floor, the splashes on every surface. Truly, it looks cleaner than the Painting studio, but in the Darkroom, one wears glasses, not contacts--since contacts absorb the fumes. A hop, skip, and a jump from the Photo department is the Print, Painting and Photography technician, Hope Zaccagni, who tirelessly teaches each fresh crop of students impeccable safety habits which they will habitually ignore, who tirelessly keeps all chemicals and fixtures to code. The last bastion of cleanliness, Hope directs the workstudy students to try to clean the Print, Painting and Photography spaces as much as possible.
The final descent through the levels of Harder takes us to the 1st floor, even larger than the 2nd, and almost entirely devoted to clay. We have reached Ceramics. Pets who lingered on this basement-like floor until their death, and were cremated, left behind perfect clay lungs from clay dust inhalation. Dried clay is everywhere, walls, floor, windows, somehow even the ceiling, high as it is. Clay dust sparkles in the sunlight that filters through the smudged glass hallways. It's like a beige jungle, pots and shelves, the flora and students, the fauna. The students themselves develop a camouflage, their clothing becoming deeply saturated with dirt and clay, so they blend in with the sculpted forms and boards and pipes. Merely breathing in this space too long could leave one with Silicosis, or "Potter's Rot," but luckily that takes years. Unless one counts the risk of clay flying off of the potter's wheel, or falling into a pile of shards, the physical risks in most of Ceramics are limited to inhaling the stuff. Step into the hot, mighty kiln room, and the risk goes up a bit. Temperatures in the kilns themselves can hit over 1,000 degrees Celsius. That's almost 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit! Fire a kiln the wrong way and it's entirely possible that it will explode. While going through the kiln room is often a shortcut through Harder, it's more than understandable why nobody does it. Simply walk around, and all that's needed is to be vacuumed off once you leave--and don't forget to wipe your feet before you go outside.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Hair Care ( 15 N. Main)
The location of hair Care was originally at 14 west University. Located now where the tattoo show is now. The building that it is not housed in used to be for many years the Alfred Pharmacy, which started in 1900 and was started by a man by the name of Fred Ellis. In the years around 1988 the pharmacy moved to it’s present location on the south side of the street. The building is housed in what Alfred considers to be the brick block. In 2000 Hair Care worked in Alfred to promote the organization “Locks For Love”.
The Parlor hair salon (23 N. Main)
The location on the Parlor hair Salon has had many different faces through out the years. Aunt Cookie’s Sub shop was located in the Parlor’s location up until 1980. In 1980 the sub shop was then transformed in to “ The Whole in Thyme” tea house and bagel shop. They served various different kinds of herbal teas and displayed various local art works, along with holding folk shows and yoga workshops. Soon after the opening of “ The Whole in Thyme” a vegetarian gourmet restaurant opened, by the name of “ The Peaceable Kingdom”. This restaurant was started by student who attended Alfred University school of art and design for glass blowing and decided to open up her own restaurant. Today it is the Parlor Hair Salon.
Montessori School ( 8 ½ South Main Street)
To talk alittle about what the Montessori education ideals are:“The Montessori Education Method became a significant influence in the United States in the early 1960's”...”She formulated an educational program to meet the particular needs of the child at whatever stage of development, to help him/her reach his/her fullest potential.” Alfred’s Montessori school was housed in what used to be Crandall Barn, was built in 1851 by a man of the name of Ira Crandall who was in the cheese business and had a general store on church street at the time. Ira Crandall died and the barn was left empty for years, then in in the 1940’s after WWII the School for American Craftsmen used the Crandall barn as its main base. With these owners the extra room was added to house kilns and other craft making tools.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
When a student who was visiting for the summer ask a local where they could get toothpaste one Saturday they sent her to Kinfolk. This is her account of the store "They sent me to an apothecary with dirt floors run by a little dwarf."
- This is true Kinfolk provides a magical escape with a taste of love.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I talk to prospective students and parents often as part of my Resident Assistant position. More often than not either parents or students or both have the question about feeling secure on campus or some doubts about the idea of walking home by oneself at night. However, for those of us living on Alfred's campus we know that it is simply a safe place to be, no more explanation needed. It is a top notch art school where after spending all night and part of the next morning working on can be home in 10 minuets walk or less (depending on the weather) without any worry of harrasment, transportation problems or running into any unsavory characters. The experience of the evening walk home for students at our arts school counterparts in New York City are quite the contrast to the peacefulness of Alfred.
I will post the audio content on this page as soon as I have it. (Most likely Saturday morning)
The police station within is very small. There are about 6 desks and two rooms for questioning. Most of the policemen's desks are lined with impressive glass art, or what some may know as marijuana pipes and bongs, presumably confiscated from students of both the university and state college. Although, it is very silly to see a police station filled with with drug paraphernalia sitting out completely out in the open.
There have been a number of community plays put on over the years (if anyone really wants a list, let me know and I can get it in a jiffy). Last summer, Jewel (Buckwalter) Agaard and Steve Crandall starred with other locals in a production of a play that's name escapes me at the moment. The theater itself is small, but very well handcrafted and preserved, with an old fashioned ticket booth and all.
...more to come.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Lenticular clouds are not common clouds, such as cumulous, cirrus, stratus, cumulostratus, nimbus, cumulonimbus, etc. They are a special cloud, because they do not form high in the sky, such as cirrus, nor do they form over bodies of water such as cumulous and nimbus clouds. They form over mountains when the weather conditions are right, usually beginning in April, when it's spring and the atmosphere is confused for about a month, and also near mountains and valleys in a humid climate: Allegany County, NY. "Lenticular" simply means lens shaped. When a warm, humid mass of air moves over a mountain and the dew point drops to the point of condensation, lenticular clouds form. These clouds sometimes never leave their post at the top of the mountain, but, if you're looking closely enough a point in Alfred where you can see over the trees (such as Hairpin Turn), when a warm front came in the night before, you can see altocumulous lenticular clouds traveling across the sky from the north. If you happen to be grocery shopping at the Hornell Wegman's during one of these spring/summer cycles, you can see hundreds of these brilliant clouds stacked upon each other scattered across the sky from the parking lot, traveling and dissipating towards Alfred.
There once lived a pool, primarily known as "Prexy's Bath Tub" in the middle of what now is the Bartlett Garden next to Carnegie Hall, then an original Carnegie Library, and the "Overlooked Bridge." It was at the site of an "ancient store" that burned down in 1913, and the basement of the building was turned into a a pool filled with water lilies and goldfish with a fountain in the middle. Reason's for it's name are unknown, but one story tells of a child who fell into the pool, too small to get out himself, called for help, and President-Emeritus Boothe C. Davis ran from his office in the Carnegie Library and pulled the child out.
Prexy's Pool was often the site of student activities and parades, however, where there are college students, there is mischief. It was officially filled in during a campus-wide landscaping projects, arguably between 1952 and 1958, due to students throwing each other into the pool, especially freshmen and sophomores. Alan Littell, a local author, historian, and just a good old facts guy who likes to hang out in the Herrick Archives told me a story about several "frat boys" who emptied the pool completely and carried a Volkswagen Beetle over to the site and dropped it in.
And, as we all know, if Prexy's Pool were still here, we would still throw freshmen into it.
THANKS TO THE AMAZING UNIVERSITY ARCHIVIST LAURIE MCFADDEN
Monday, April 12, 2010
Later that day I went down to look at the damage. I remember the large yellow pool of water that one of the firemen was sitting above, his booted feet dangling a few inches above the edge of the plastic yellow wall. He was laughing and smiling. He had a beard.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
It's weird being in Harder Hall now (I'm a BAFA kid). This is the year I really got to know my way around (which is good because I'm unfazed by the construction now).
The mural stairwell that runs from the 5th floor to the Ceramic area, though, is one that I remember when I took art tours when visiting Alfred. I was always struck by this staircase. Even to this day, I can't really put into words how I feel about it. Something between happiness, curiosity, and contentedness. Sublime... I think that's the word I'm looking for.
And only today I passed by it between floors 1 and 2, and they're painting over part of it.
An acquaintance once visited the Chorus room in Miller and this is how she described the landscape:
"Sunny and green, I look out the window and there's so much more sky then there is ground. The line trees separates the fields and it looks like the paintings of the landscape that you see. Then you start thinking about the English countryside and shepherds and people running around through the grass. And Beethoven's Pastoral symphony is playing in the background, of course."
My first year at Alfred, I made a video about the history of the town. I wanted to include the siren because it was still a new idea to me: to have a town-wide fire alarm. I tried to record the sound of the siren, but it didn't work, so I resorted to finding a siren sound file online. I remember thinking, "This is perfect!"
I watched the video a few weeks ago, and when the siren started blaring, I only just now realized how thoroughly horrible it is. Not only is it the wrong pitch, but it lasted for too long. I guess I really am a resident now.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
We went through the information that has already been posted on the blog, and we chose sites on campus that we are interested in discussing. We’ve made a master list that also includes sites that we’d like to know more about. So here is a list of specific questions that our group has about all of these buildings.
Overall info that we would like for ALL of the buildings (including Libraries, sites of Fire and Future Plans):
when was the building built?
what were its functions over time?
physical and functional transformations & significant dates thereof?
important people associated with buildings?
powell campus center
susan howell hall
40 north main street (the gallery)
davis memorial carillon
Alfred Union Library
Kenyon Hall (used to be where powell is now)
Rogers Hall (also used to be where powell is now)
Miller Performing Arts Center
Language House (12 Park Street)
(aka the Transformation Group)
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
As a follow up to my last post, I decided to interview the one and only beekeeper in the Village of Alfred- Mr. Thomas McDowell.
During his college years, Mr. McDowell studied biology with a specific focus in mammalian behavioral ecology. This is what led him to discover his interest in bees. He loved watching and studying the way animals interact, specifically the behavioral codes of bees.
When Mr. McDowell moved to Alfred, around 1985, he had the perfect opportunity to take his fascination with bees and make it a physical proposition. Soon after moving into the house that he still lives in, he noticed a strange happening going on in late July. On the outside of his home, a swarm of bees had taken to nesting. He talked to the local beekeeper at the time and the beekeeper said there was no way they would make it through the winter if Mr. McDowell decided to capture the swarm now, in early August. He decided to give it a shot anyway. Tom built a Styrofoam “hive” around the swarm onto the side of the house. Miraculously the hive survived the winter- and the rest is history.
As I had recently found out Alfred was a pretty busy bee hive. Bees were a crucial part of Alfred State’s research and the reason Honey Pot Candy was founded. It is surprising that not more beekeepers are found in the Village.
Starting out Mr. McDowell only had one hive, realizing soon enough that it was just too risky not to have more than one- he expanded. It is very common that a hive will not survive the winter, especially in a climate like Alfred. In 1986 or 87’ he started with one hive, slowly building his way up to the 12 that he has today. This year, all 12 have survived the winter, probably because it has not been too brutal. All his hives consist of Carolinian Queen Bees, which he receives from a company in Georgia. Mr. McDowell prefers this species because of their calm, non-aggressive behavior. In the beginning of his practice, every year Tom would receive a whole hive of bees from Georgia but now just prefers to purchase the queens and split his old hive to create a new one.
The average amount of honey Mr. Mc Dowell will receive depends on how good the season is. The amount can range from 30 -100lbs of honey from individual hives. On average about 60- 70lbs of honey is gathered from each hive during a normal season. The way to receive the honey from the hives is a rather tricky process. There are two ways to take the honey; it depends on what type of honey you want. One can just take the entire honeycomb- honey and wax, or one can extract the honey from the honeycombs. The processes involve an entire suit of protective clothing and special equipment to keep the bees away. One has to scare the bees away from the hive, hoping that they will return after they have been pushed away from their home. While they are gone, it leaves one with enough time to go into each hive and remove the frames. One would take a hot knife and cut the honeycombs away from the frame leaving the empty frames and putting them back into the hive. The other way to just get pure honey with no honeycomb is the slice the caps off the honeycombs and put the entire frame in a barrel. The barrel will than spin and gravity will extract the honey from the combs and force it toward the outside of the barrel, dripping down into a collecting agent.
Something I found very interesting while looking at different types of honey was the fact that some of them can be artificially flavored with clover, orange, blueberry or naturally flavored. I did not quite understand how the natural flavoring happened so I asked Mr. McDowell to elaborate. It is possible to take a hive of bees to a specific location where there is a grove of particular flowers or trees. If there is a large quantity of a specific flower in one place, the bee will only collect pollen from that one species- resulting in a natural flavoring of the honey. Therefore, if a honey has a naturally orange or clover flavoring it is because the bees only took pollen from those particular plants.
Mr. McDowell sends his honey out to friends and family, sells it at local stores like Kinfolk and the Quest Farm produce stand in Almond, and of course keeps some for him. As stated, Mr. McDowell, “Loves honey, specifically honey combs (eating the wax and all). There is nothing better than eating an entire honeycomb on top of toast or an English muffin.”
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The following is data specific to Alfred, NY, spanning every 5 years, from 1970 to 2035.
So what or who is really in control of our natural light?
The Foote Brothers of Nunda, NY, made this bridge. These brothers also owned a cement manufacturing company, a large part of the material used to make the bridge. Yet the most interesting piece of this bridge t me was the sign stating the maker. This small copper plate is so easily missed, that it took me four years of walking up that hill to notice, and only by happenstance, because my dog stopped to sniff. Copper is such a revolutionary metal, and for me, has so many historical references, like the Statue of Liberty as well as ancient art and monetary references as well.
I find it interesting to think about the choices of materials that builders use. Why a copper sign? Why a cement base, when water could potentially seep in and eventually crack the cement. Another interesting fact is why the copper changes to the color green. To quote a metal website “Gemini Geek,” “Though copper is well known as a metal that resists the effects of exposure to the air and to salt water (because of the salt), it does have an interesting characteristic when this exposure occurs. It turns green.”
c.1300, aphetic of O.Fr. estraier "wander about," lit. "go about the streets," from estree "route, highway," from L.L. via strata "paved road" (see street). On another theory, the O.Fr. is from V.L. *estragare, a contraction of *estravagare, representing L. extra vagari "to wander outside" (see extravagant). Fig. sense of "to wander from the path of rectitude" is attested from early 14c. The noun meaning "domestic animal found wandering" is earlier (early 13c.), from O.Fr. estraié "strayed," pp. of estraier. The adj. is first recorded c.1600.
I recently found a stray on a random trip to gas up the car. After putting up posters, calling vets, the SPCA, and anyone else I could think of, I came across a realization. There are many strays in the community of Alfred.
There are cats roaming the alley and dogs on the highway. Where do they all come from? I recently learned that one student tried to hand over a dog that she knew she could not take care of to the SPCA, she was told it would be $95 to turn him in.
These flowers are also the symbol of friendship, a perfect addition to the Alfred campus. Often you will see students carrying around glimpses of this spring flower up until hot dog day.
I have started to take my interest in locally grown foods and sustainable living to a smaller notion. The agricultural in this part of the state has been an influential part of living within the community. What better place to start my research than at Kinfolk, the local organic grocery store. In my last post, I researched Honey Pot Candies, sold and created in only in Alfred, NY. I am interested in the local honey businesses surrounding the Alfred community. Many local beekeepers provide honey for Alfred and villages surrounding us. Since I do not know much about bees as an insect, I began researching bees.
I will be posting another blog at the end of the week providing information gathered from some local beekeepers that I have interviews with this week.
Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees in seven to nine recognized families, though many are unrecognized and the actual number is probably higher. Bees are found throughout the world except at the highest altitudes, in Polar Regions, and on some small oceanic islands. The greatest diversity of bee species is found in warm, arid or semiarid areas, especially in the American Southwest and Mexico.They are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants.
Bees range in size from tiny species only 2 mm in length to rather large insects up to 4 cm long. Many bees are black or gray, but others are bright yellow, red, or metallic green or blue. Bees have a long complex "tongue" that enables them to obtain the nectar from flowers. They have antennae almost universally made up of 13 segments in males and 12 in female. All bees have two pairs of wings, the hind pair being the smaller of the two; in a very few species, one sex or caste has relatively short wings that make flight difficult or impossible, but none are wingless. Bee flight patterns were applied the equations of air resistance and found that their flight could not be explained by fixed-wing calculations. This has led to a common misconception that bees "violate aerodynamic theory", but in fact it confirms that bees do not engage in fixed-wing flight, and that their flight is explained by other mechanics, such as those used by helicopters. Their sufficient lift is generated by the combination of short, choppy wing strokes, a rapid rotation of the wing as it flops over and reverses direction, and a very fast wing-beat frequency. Wing beat frequency normally increases as size decreases, but as the bee's wing beat covers such a small arc, it flaps approximately 230 times per second.
Bees are dependent on pollen as a protein source and on flower nectar or oils as an energy source. Adult females collect pollen primarily to feed their larvae. The pollen they inevitably lose in going from flower to flower is important to plants because some pollen lands on the pistils of other flowers of the same species, resulting in cross-pollination. Bees are the most important pollinating insects, and their interdependence with plants makes them an perfect example of symbiosis known as mutualism, an association between unlike organisms that is beneficial to both parties. Bees focus either on gathering nectar or on gathering pollen depending on demand, especially in social species. Bees gathering nectar may accomplish pollination, but bees that are deliberately gathering pollen are pollinators that are more efficient. It is estimated that one third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees, especially the domesticated European honeybee.
The European Honey bee which is the domesticated bee found in Alfred, belongs to a species of eusocial bees, which live in colonies. Each colony has a single queen, many workers and, at certain stages in the colony cycle, drones. When humans provide the nest, it is called a hive. Colonies are typically small, with a dozen or fewer workers, on average. The only physical difference between queens and workers is average size, if they differ at all. A honey bee hive can contain up to 40,000 bees at their annual peak, which occurs in the spring, but usually have fewer. In some species, groups of cohabiting females may be sisters, and if there is a division of labor within the group, then they are considered semi social. If, in addition to a division of labor, the group consists of a mother and her daughters, then the group is called eusocial. The mother is considered the "queen" and the daughters are "workers". These castes may be purely behavioral alternatives. Males play no part in the colony's organization and only mate with the queens. Individual bees may have highly specialized functions within the colony. The tasks of defense, food collection and storage, reproduction, and many other activities are regulated by the colony's response to environmental conditions inside and outside the hive. Individuals communicate by means of chemical messages, touch, sound, and, in the case of honey bees, a symbolic dance language. The nests of many eusocial bees are very elaborate and may be constructed partially of wax secreted by the bees.
The Bee as a figure has been seen prominently in mythology and has been used by political theorists as a model for human society. Despite the honey bee's painful sting and the stereotype of insects as pests, bees are generally held in high regard. This is most likely due to their usefulness as pollinators and as producers of honey, their social nature, and their reputation for diligence. Bees are one of the few insects regularly used on advertisements, being used to illustrate honey and foods made with honey.
In North America, yellow jackets and hornets, especially when encountered as flying pests, are often misidentified as bees, despite numerous differences between them. Although a bee sting can be deadly to those with allergies, virtually all bee species are non-aggressive if undisturbed and many cannot sting at all. Humans are often a greater danger to bees, as bees can be affected or even harmed by encounters with toxic chemicals in the environment.
The project of rebuilding the existing Alfred bus shelter began in November 2006 when Bland Hoke, a 2007 Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate of Alfred University, obtained a Community Initiative Grant from the School of Art & Design. According to Hoke, the grant “was targeted at working with the community. I gathered a group of students, and we researched a public amenity within the Village of Alfred that would be revitalized with the integration of public art.” The bus shelter, constructed in the early ‘70s by Glenn Zweygardt, a sculpture professor at the University from 1969 to 2007, was chosen because it had been decommissioned due to structural instability after more than 30 years of use. Additionally, its location on the corner of South Main and West University streets in Alfred make it highly visible to the Alfred community. Rebuilding the bus shelter was the pilot project of Alfred Community Outreach Through the Arts (COTTA), a student initiative co-founded by Hoke, whose objective was to “provide students with an educational experience in public art making while providing the Village with the service of renovation and beautification.”
Upon receiving the grant, Hoke contacted Alfred State College architecture professor Joy Carlson, who connected him with the Alfred State Architecture Club. Together, the two groups developed four different concepts for the new bus shelter and put up posters around the village explaining the project and requesting feedback from the community. On January 28th, 2007, COTTA and the Alfred State Architecture club held a “charette” session at the Village Hall involving business members, elected officials, residents, faculty and students. A charette is defined as a final, intensive effort to finish an architectural project. The charette provided an opportunity for anyone in the Alfred community interested to be a part of the project and included a trip to the site to make observations of existing conditions. Glenn Zweygardt participated in the charette, offering insights to any changes made and educating the community on his original concepts for the existing bus shelter. On February 1st, the two groups presented a semi-finalized concept to the Village Planning Board, which included many different Auto-CAD site plans, floor plans, renderings and virtual placement of the new bus shelter in the existing location. Considerations of the design included a backrest that blocked the prevailing wind but also functioned as a posting board for temporary and permanent postings, a paving pattern that allowed access to the sidewalk and a structure that served as a community-gathering place. The Village of Alfred Planning Board approved the final design on March 1st, 2007 and on April 19th, the structure was erected in just nine hours.
Sustainability of the bus shelter, which came to be known as “Alfred Plaza”, and the use of local, recycled and re-purposed materials were major factors influencing the design and construction of the shelter. The timber frame of the shelter was designed by the Alfred State Architecture Club and constructed using traditional timber framing techniques. It is constructed from white oak harvested locally by Eddie’s Lumber, and prefabricated in Wellsville by the Alfred State Timber Framing Club. The seven benches, designed by Hoke, are made entirely from durable recycled materials including Corian, composite decking and galvanized metal and will be virtually maintenance free for 25 to 30 years. Approximately 1 ½ tons of Corian flashing material, along with 1,000 pink, translucent acrylic promotional bracelets by Estee Lauder were procured from a landfill by the Hudson Valley Materials Exchange in order to construct the benches. The failed bracelets were used as spacers between the Corian to reduce the weight of the benches (each bench weighs approximately 600 pounds!) and allow water to flow through. The benches also make use of a repurposed rigid conduit lighting grid for support and recycled plastic timber for the seat. The roof of the structure was created using 15,000 terra cotta tiles donated by John Ninos and Alfred State architecture professor Terry Palmiter. The tiles serve to strengthen the shelter’s connection to the village of Alfred, which probably wouldn’t exist as we know it today if it weren’t for terra cotta.
The story of Alfred Plaza project is significant because is representative of collaboration between Alfred State, Alfred University and the community of Alfred. Hoke says, “I believe this project will be a catalyst for continued collaboration between Alfred University and Alfred State College. The two schools have tremendous capabilities in terms of applied skills, conceptual strongholds and a creative broth of students that are capable of doing just about anything. It will be exciting to see how Alfred melds and morphs in the coming years.” Furthermore, the design of the bus shelter as we know it today is significant because it considers sustainability and the use of recycled and repurposed materials for building, a phenomenon which is very much in the interest and spirit of this day and age.
Hoke, Bland. “Alfred Plaza Project.” [Weblog entry.] The Blog of Bland. 22 Apr 2008. (http://blandzai.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_archive.html.) 28 Mar 2010.
Hoke, Bland. Alfred Cotta. N.p. 3 Apr 2009. Web. 28 Mar 2010. (http://alfredcotta.blogspot.com/)
Alfred has the ability to make visitors feel like they are entering a different time. Maybe it is the brick facades and walkways or the old-style lanterns that are so prominent in the village. It could be the single stop light, the historic buildings, the uncanny tree outside of Powell Campus Center. Or maybe Alfred is just a different from many of our home towns. Students here are from all over the country and all over the world. The size of Alfred can be surprising and even uncomfortable for some who are unfamiliar with this kind of setting. After doing some driving around and exploring a couple years back, I started to feel as if I was seeing the unknown and the forgotten. One place in particular gave me the spooks and sticks with me still.
On Sherman Road, there is a dirt drive on the left heading up the hill from Route 244. I have frequented there only once. (If I can muster up some courage, I will go there again to paint a better picture.) After a full day of driving through back roads to take pictures for our photography class, I drove there with my boyfriend for one last stop. Our assignment: go somewhere you have never been and photograph it. Each place we stopped at gave us the growing illusion that Alfred was similar to those oh-so-disconnected towns in some Hollywood films. I had flashbacks to horror movies that take place in small towns with little or no contact to the outside world, such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The dirt road leading into this spot very narrowly crosses a stream. The bridge is so narrow that we almost went off of it on our fast departure from there. The unpaved road curves around to the right, and before you know it, you are driving towards a dead end surrounded on all sides by high and steep slopes. In the turn around loop, there is an old, run down school bus that looks like it could be sheltering someone (or something). The dirt road leads out of the dead end and up a hill. When I was there, I saw what looked like a garden of sorts atop the hill, leading my imagination further into thinking that there were inhabitants near by. On the way out, we saw a desk with cinder blocks on top of it in the middle of an overgrown field. I didn't even get out of the car to take my picture. Going back down Sherman Road, I stopped close to this mysterious spot to take a couple more pictures, when a man came out of the house on the corner property of Sherman and Route 244 to approach me. What he wanted, I will never know. I got in my car when I saw him because he did not look happy with what we were doing. Did he see us visiting the strange area? Was it his property? Had we been trespassing? The relief I felt when arriving on campus was incredible, because although Alfred is reminiscent of another time and place, it can be very jarring and unfamiliar, creating wild ideas and painting inaccurate pictures of what Alfred is really all about.
To get to Hornell from Alfred, one must venture onto Route 21, a road that has been in existence since the late 1930s and early 40s. In Hornell can be found a Walmart, Wegman's, Salvation Army, restaurants, a small movie theater, not to mention a Lowe's that was put in recently. Compared to Alfred, there is a lot going on there to lure students from their quaint dorms and monotonous school work, and all one must do to visit the exciting town of Hornell is travel a mere 18 minutes by car. On the way, one may notice several side roads that veer off from Route 21 for under a mile, then curve and rejoin the main road. From a first glance, one might assume that these roads were built after Route 21 so that residents could pull off into their driveways in slower moving traffic areas. However, these side roads connected at one point to form a main road, the "old Route 21," the original roadway to move from town to town. Route 21 was built around the same time as the Almond Dam, to provide a faster, straighter, more efficient means by which to travel. Starting in Alfred, there is Shaw Road, Whitford Road, Old Whitney Valley Road, and Old Almond Road that run adjacent to 21 on the way to Hornell.
With the exception of Almond Road, the names of these roads are connected to some of the earliest settlers of this area. And these three roads are not unique in this way. Most, if not all of the roads in the Alfred area, were named after families, or if not named after families were named after certain features. Chapel Road in Almond for example, connected to three churches in the 1800s, each with different denominations. Only one of these churches remains today.
It is interesting to look at a topographical map of Alfred to see how the roads are built dependent upon the geography. Most of the roads were placed when Alfred was first settled and haven't moved since. It's no wonder Route 21 was built. The main road was very windy because it conformed to the shape of the land. The roads were built out of necessity, not for the ease of travel. The side roads have a different look and feel than they did originally. Like on-ramps and off-ramps of the interstate highways, these side roads provide stopping points for a faster moving roadway.
In looking at ways to travel, it is interesting to also note the train station at Alfred Station. Similarly to these side roads, it was once a major means of travel, yet is no longer used for transit. Luckily, the continued use of cars for travel has kept the side roads in existence and in use.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Alfred University strides itself on being a diverse school. We are techqually the first school to have men and women enrolled and attending the same classes. Also in the 1850’s AU enrolled its first African-American and Native American students, becoming the second school to do so in their time. With this strong history relating to diversity, Drawn to Diversity emerged in 2006.
Drawn to Diversity, also known as D2D, was created by the University’s Director of Student Activities, Dan Napolitano. This program aims to “teach history, inspire artists, cultivate dialogue, and fight ignorance using popular art and media forms.” When D2D first started in 2006 Marvel Comics and MTV provided support for the club to explore diversity issues through comic books. D2D put on programs throughout the year that involved colorful stage shows that featured the students dressed in superhero costumes and detailing the history of civil rights. Some examples of the superheroes that were portrayed were The Black Panther, Luke Cage, Green Lantern, and Falcon.
In 2008, Dan Napolitano began to teach his first D2D class, the topic being diversity and advertising. The goal for this class was to explore the history of advertising icons such as Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima, Chiquita Banana, and other famous advertising creations. The class worked hand in hand with the club taking the research they have gathered and compiled it into a fun power point presentation that ends up captivating audiences of all ages. February of that year D2D made themselves present at the NYC Comic Con hosting a booth and also putting on performances for educators and other alike. At the end of the 2007-2008 school year the Drawn to Diversity class hosted an event in Susan Howell where the students revealed posters that provoked the truth about the history of several advertising icons. They were originally designed to be hanged in Wegman’s supermarkets; sadly Wegman’s declined the offer. Along with unveiling the posters Aleighlia Bundles, Madam CJ Walkers great granddaughter, made a speech at the ceremony.
During the fall semester of the 2008-2009 school year Dan Napolitano decided to take the Drawn to Diversity club and turn it into a class. The D2D club is a community service program. The club is made up of several students who take turns being the Art Force Five. Going to schools and inviting elementary-college students to view their performance.
The focuses of the last two Drawn to Diversity classes have been diversity in toys and diversity in animation. Each semester new students get involved in this growing club/class helping fight ignorance.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
For my final essay for the Alfred LUCK project I would like to revisit a location that I discussed before; the alley that runs behind what was historically called the Rose Bush block. But is probably known better as the alley that runs behind the Chinese restaurant, Alex’s, the hair salon, the Kampus Kave, the ballet apartments and the former Collegiate restaurant. In the previous essay on this location I talked about the ethos of the alley and how it had the feeling that it could be located in a city, instead of a rural location. I also talked about the various formal characteristics of the alley, how it smells, the sounds that can be heard from it, and the large number of fire escapes that reinforce the city feel. The function of the alley is to allow mobility and access to business without being visible to the consumers frequenting the business. This is so food/products can be brought in and trash removed in a discrete manner. The function of the alley is also to allow escape to the residents of the building via fire escapes in the case of emergency. Basically the function of the alley is to discretely allow for practical task to take place behind the façade of the front of the building out of the public eye.
I have already talked about the formal design and layout of the alley behind the Rose Bush block in my previous essay and would now like to talk about different ways of mapping that could be utilized to demonstrate this form and function in a non-traditional manner. The first way to map the alley, while at the same time show the function of the alley and represent the business that are located in the building that it runs behind would be to make a map of the trash disposed in it. This may seem a little gross, but by making a record of the different kind of waste that is being disposed of in the large dumpster and smaller trash cans could illustrate what kind of business are located in the building without ever seeing the front of the building. At the same time this method of mapping shows that one function of the alley is to be a place where trash can be disposed of.
My second idea for making a map representing form and function of the alley would be to make a visual map showing only the fire escapes located on the back of the building above the alley. This map would roughly illustrate the location of the residential apartments and demonstrate the function of the alley as being a way of escape in an emergency. In the alley behind Alex’s and the Chinese food restaurant there are three sets of fire escapes, two of them having three levels to them and the third having two levels. The fire escape is a fairly typical architectural device that is typically used in urban apartment buildings as a way of escape during a fire. It was invented in 1784 by Daniel Maseres in England and has become an iconic image of the cityscape.
My third idea for mapping the alley behind Alex’s and the Chinese food restaurant would be to document the consumption of electricity from the building. A notable aesthetic element of the alley is the rows of electric meters that are on the back wall of the building each having a label for each business and apartment. A map made showing the different levels of electricity consumption would illustrate the different inhabitants of the building based on their consumption of electricity. The business’s would likely have a higher rate of electricity consumption so the map would show the number of commercial and residential inhabitants, while at the same time illustrating one of the functions of the alley as being a place for the electric meters to exist out of public view.
At the end of my last essay I posed the question what purpose do the backs of buildings serve? I think the answer to this question is that there purpose is to allow discrete access and mobility away from the public eye and I think that the three alternative ways of mapping that I have proposed clearly illustrate the characteristics of the alley behind the Rose Bush block.
The Alfred Historical Society and Baker’s Bridge Association. History of Alfred, New York. Dallas Texas: Curtis Media Corporation, 1990.
Since arriving at college I have wanted to know about the history of the Alfred and it’s buildings. As soon as discussion started I found that conversation took a turn for the supernatural. Once a building was brought up someone inevitably had a story of of some kind about something that had happened with in these various buildings. Whether I believe them or not them or not there is some quite great about hearing a story about a “ ghost” or whatever you want to call it. Another great aspect of these stories at are also interesting to hear about is how someone telling the story reacted to the experience.
One story that seems to be the most reacquiring story of ghost on Alfred University's campus is the sighting of a man in civil war uniform roaming the halls of the brick. This kind of “sighting” always makes me wonder I know it may seem more convincing if more people ad seen this figure but for me I feel like the multiple claims to have seen this “figure” is somewhat unreal and fabricated, since it is a well known fact the the brick was converted in to an infirmary doing the civil war and that many people died there, is just common knowledge. I guess what I’m trying to get at is when reading or hearing these stories I question how much of it is fabrication of “thing” that is in your mind ( maybe in even a dream) but then connecting it to some kind of historical event. For example, I have had two people live in the Brick tell me that they have had dreams about walking through the building and seeing it all “ as it was when it was a hospital” and then with in dreams interacting with “people” and then waking up in cold sweat. Now I don’t know if these two people have spoken to each-other however what is interesting is yes they are somewhat connecting historical events of the location however where the flaw seems to be is in what time periods are explained. It is well known that is was during civil war times that a place like this was described but these dreams were set according to the tellers one in the 1920’s and one in the 1960’s, a little off.
Other stories of encounters are seeing a small boy with in the row of books on the second floor of Herrick library. There is also the claim that there is women’s spirt roaming around the CDC which has been seen by janitors while cleaning u and she has been seen in the top floor window from the back path behind powell and the science center. In 2009 there a “ghost hunter” came to Alfred and when doing a tour on campus, and was asked where he does like to do a ghost tour he picked the CDC and the brick to hold his “ghost tours”. Then entering the CDC he claimed that he felt a spirt of a young boy and a mother. When asked how is received these feelings or how they were different? he claimed that the spirt of most young boys were a lot more high energy while women sprits are more claim and seem to somewhat float through spaces. He then proceeded to explain that men’s sprits are more “rough” feeling and there is a sense of anger and your girls seem claim and as well with young boys to be an almost bouncy feel of them. Now something I feel is interesting about these claims about different gendered and aged sprits is that they almost seem of a stereo type for men, women and little boys and girls. I don’t know for a fact but I think there should be more of a definite/ complex answer as to why a spirt is cauterized as something. I think what I am trying to “map” with in this entry is not so much the actual ghost stories but to map where these people thought about these stories or came to these conclusions.
In 2007 Alfred State College completed construction of a new building on campus, a mass of steel and glass, this building would be the home to hundreds of plants. The greenhouse operates now as the laboratory for the school's Center for Organic and Sustainable Agriculture (COSA). The building itself offers little in the way of inspired design, instead it is the advanced growing system that is of note. The greenhouse employs a hydroponic system known as “Nutrient Film Technology” in which nutrients are delivered to the plants through tubes facilitating rapid growth. This method of growing can provide harvestable lettuce in as little as a month after planting. In winter there is not sufficient sunlight in Alfred to support this rapid growth so in order to supplement that deficiency the greenhouse has another technological feature, a system of light emitting diodes which are more efficient than other means of greenhouse lighting, as well as less hazardous. The program is in cooperation with on campus dining, and the greenhouse supplies fresh lettuce to the dining hall through out the year. The projected yield for lettuce is 30 heads a day, which is about 20-30 pounds, it is also projected to include tomatoes carrots broccoli and other produce. This arrangement is an attempt to not only provide local vegetation to campus dining services, but also to teach the students in the program the entire process of their work, from seedling to plate, not just the initial steps. The system that is in place is said to be more sustainable than other traditional methods of greenhouse growing in that it requires less space and offers a larger yield. This design is a great example of an innovative way to improve both the learning experience, and the quality as well as environmental impact of the dining services. It is surprisingly uncommon to see two programs working in such close symbiosis, this relationship should stand as a model for other departments to work together in order to improve the school in a larger sense.