Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Harder Hall: from Cleaner to Harder

Harder can be classified in many ways. One interesting way to view the building is by floor, and by cleanliness. At first glance, there is an obvious hierarchy. Out of 5 floors, the 5th is the cleanest and the 1st is by far the dirtiest.

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

Main Street Panorama Map

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

Wellness Center Health Services

I am a senior who made it through all four years of college without ever going to the health center. My roommate freshman year did break her arm and went to the health center. They made her take a taxi to the hospital which cost her 50 dollars because it is a distance away. No one at the health center is authorized to give students a ride to the hospital. In the work cited there is the website that is the home page for the Wellness Center. The Wellness Center is on Park Street and on the website it states that appointments are highly recommended. The hours for the health center is 8:30 to 4:30 monday through friday and give a number for 24 hour emergency calls. This number is 877- 924- 7758 and is toll free.

Work Cited:

Winter Fun

Where West University and Church Street sits a fraternity. Last year I lived across form this fraternity and watched them construct a skating rink. At first I as not sure what they where doing but one night they brought some spot lights out and started ice skating and playing hockey. About two days after the completion of the skating rink the temperatures warmed up and that was the end of the ice rink.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The knitting store

After the first experience at the knitting store, it is hard not to go back. The first step in provides you with an overwhelming array of color, warmth and familiarity. My first time I went there I spent a hundred dollars of money I did not have just because everything was so beautiful. If you go at the right time there might even be some snacks and the sales are always great. The couple who owns the store are so knowledgeable it is hard not to ask them to show you everything they know. If you are an avid knitter, this little shop is the most wonderful place you will ever step foot into.


Up from the suites, while trying to find a parking spot, you can see s small alcove of grass providing a haven for pick nicking, cloud watching, snow for building and meteor shower watching. With one of the most expansive views on campus, Hairpin is the ideal place to relax.


On a hot summer day, all I want to do is go swimming. The summer in Alfred was perhaps my happiest time here. No one to answer to, no responsibilities that were outrageous and the feeling of complete Independence was unbelievable. I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted without feeling a hint of guilt for not working or making money. Foster Lake provided an idyllic little escape where I could swim, tan (mostly freckle), and bask in the warmth of summer. Less than a seven minute drive from town Fosters is the most accessible swimming hole around. Down a road that looks like a private driveway is the lake. The caretaker/ owner lives in a little house on the driveway. It is complete with a dock, boats and a path around the lake to take a walk. With a slight breeze always blowing and the hot dock underneath me the sky reminded me of how grateful I was to be there.

fire field

The hike leaves you short of breath and with the thought that you will never climb that hill again. The anticipation during the hike is part of the great experience of the evening. on top of the hill, past the observatory and up a steep climb is a huge open field. Coming through the field with flashlights you are aware that the people already at the bonfire are wondering if you are friends or enemies( police). The vastness of the dark field provides you with a feeling of unease but as soon as you are closer to the fire the comfort and familiarity of the atmosphere overcome es you. The peacefull neess of sitting at a campfire, surrounded by friends is an experience that everyone should have. The crisp starry sky, the clanking of bottles, the warmth of the fire- all lead to utter contentment.


Alfred is not a town where many stores are known to be open. The one place in town that is always reliable is Kinfolk- the petite grocery providing local and organic food. Going there always provides a much needed break and quick walk! Whether it be brownies, bean curd or bacon, Kinfolk will provide you with almost any cooking necessity. This little store provides a wonderful array of spices and seasonings(my favorite part of the shop) in a self help section that you can measure out and put in little bags for yourself. Kinfolk is a special little store that is not commonly seen in neighborhoods. It provides the community with a haven of healthy delicious food, provided through the commitment of the owners -Jessin and Elliot.

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.

Cohen Center/ Cohen Gallery

Cohen Center was built in the 1890's. About 10 years ago, when Greek life was still a big part of Alfred this spot on main street belonged to a fraternity. However, once the University possessed the building around 2001 they turned it into a much more functional location. Another facility was built toward the back of the property where freshman foundations programs are held. The main house is used as a gallery for distinguished artists and the second floor is used as apartments which are reserved for visiting artists of Alfred, such as Lenka Clayton and Jeff Kalstrom. The Cohen center is also important to the students of Alfred University, it gives them an opportunity to create shows for themselves.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tinkertown- Friday is PIE DAY!

Tinkertown Hardware is know to be a quick and easy stop for many Alfred students. The staff is always friendly and helpful. Upon opening the doors as you enter you immediately smell the aroma of fresh popcorn which is always available. Friday is often an exciting time for the people of Alfred. Besides the fact that the weekend has finally arrived, we know that FRIDAY IS PIE DAY!! For under $10 you can choose from a variety of homemade pies such as strawberry rhubarb or bumbleberry!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Night Walk: Harder to Pine Hill

As an arts student I spend the majority of my time in Harder Hall. I have lived on campus for the past three years of my experience at Alfred, and for two of them my Sophomore and Junior year I have lived in the same suite in the Davis building of lower Pine Hill. Most nights my day is finished somewhere between 9-2 AM when I leave the studio, make a detour through Binns, check my mailbox in the campus mail room and then walk the high road from Powell Campus center back to the Pine Hill Suites. I am going to complete and post an audio "tour" if you will, cataloging my evening journey.
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)

Village Hall, Fireman's Hall (Cop Shop)

The Village Hall is home to many different things and events. The police station is located there, also the village clerk, a courtroom, and a theater, and also hosts the Fireman's Ball. Sitting atop it's incredibly loud bell tower is a weathervane shaped as a fireman saving a child, which, if you look closely enough, has a bullet hole it in put there by a relative of Becky and Cameron Prophet when trying to shoot a bird off of it.

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

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.

Prexy's Pool

prexy - the head administrative officer of a college or university

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.


Post Office

Our modern day post office was built in 1984. The first postmaster in Alfred received less than $50 a year for his services. The post office was formerly located at the Village Hall. Around 1848, the time when the post office first came into being, mail would come once a week, since Alfred wasn't a very populous area. Without postage, each letter was charged according to the distance it traveled. Since the dawn of Alfred, the post office has changed locations five times. In 1965 Alfred welcomed its first door-to-door mail delivery service.


Located at 27 N. Main St. The Chinese food restaurant known as Panda has been around since 2005. It is a family owned Chinese restaurant, with its employees living above Panda during the hours that they aren't preparing delicious foodstuffs for you and I. A long time ago this corner space used to be known as Greene Baggs.


In 1984, Daniel Wallace, real estate manager for Uni-Marts Inc. of State College Pa. proposed the construction of a Uni-Mart self- service gas station/convenience store in a lot that was once described as run-down. The land was owned by a Wellsville doctor (the E.J Brown estate) but was formerly occupied by the Psi Delta Omega fraternity (now relocated across the street). The sale of the building did not include the terra cotta roof or copper plumbing, both of which had plans to be salvaged. Wallace wanted to demolish the house and put in a parking lot in the front of the building, adhering to the standard Uni-Marts layout. Citizens of Alfred were worried of traffic congestion and of the current zoning code, which said that a gas station cannot be within 500 ft. of a public assembly. Also, concerns of Uni-Mart becoming a shady student shortcut with the potential to corrupt pedestrian traffic, plagued locals. The parking lot was moved to the back, with less parking spots than expected: Wallace fought against the idea of one parking space for each 200 ft. of floor space. Wallace explained his reasoning to put eight spots rather than twelve in the back of Uni-Marts in saying, "our customers are in our stores an average of 2.02 minutes and spend an average of $1.79," (in 1984) "those additional parking spaces will never be used, but I'll go on record saying we will add them." I sometimes walk past Uni-Mart on the secret path that connects AU to AS and see the parking lot packed to full capacity. I wonder if Wallace is kicking himself now for not super-sizing his lot more. After nearly 7 months of negotiations and deliberations, Uni-Mart was erected with a nice and commercial looking red plastic sign, that some Alfredians happened to object to. Plans to have a gas pumps, however, were never realized.

Community Bank

The bank on Main Street was originally established in 1882. It was a "University Bank", run by bank president William H. Crandall, and was located at 17 Main St. The bank was very decorative and classy looking, fine carved wood on the interior and large windows looking out onto the street.

The bank was a University Bank from 1882 to 1951 when they consolidated to Citizens Bank, also moving locations to the current building at 39 North Main in 1963.
The bank now located on North Main St. is the only bank within the Village of Alfred. It is currently a Community Bank. The building, originally built in 1963, started as a Citizens National Bank. In the early 1980's, the bank changed companies and switched to a Key Bank. Finally, in 1997 it became what it is today, a Community Bank.
(Information and pictures from "Images of America, Alfred and Alfred Station" by Laurie Lounsberry McFadden)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Alfred Freshmen Fashion

This is in the working so hang in there with me, though I wanted to post something before it got too late. I was reviewing my last blog entry and wanted to edit it to fit in with the personal Alfred and the audio tour mapping project. I originally did a color study on the color preferences for Alfred students and found that most students wear colors black white grey green blue and purple. However I wanted to expand this study to enclose a more unique view on Alfred fashion.
I remembered an article that I read as a freshmen about faux pas. I was able to dig through the fiat archives and find this article entitles "The freshman's guide to no being pegged as poorly dressed first-year student on campus! " by Sarah Harrison. This article highlights the common do's and don'ts about freshmen fashion. For example Freshmen were found to ware their lanyard complete with room key, ID and mail room key, but considered a major foux pa since many of us put these items in our pockets or bags. The next item on this list was wearing old high school gear and how these items should be replaced with AU pride wear, but that students at Alfred should not need to go as far as wearing everything Alfred and that a simple AU shirt will do. This article also makes mention of the all too common Ugg boots which had plagued the campus.
On a realistic note and some of my own observations I have noticed and found practical that wearing high heels around campus is a major no no unless you want to pull your self from between the metal stairs.
Depending on which kind of student you are on campus I feel dictates your wardrobe. Being Alfred many of us will have our long sleeves and hats and jeans right up till Hot dog day. Also if you are an art student you might be a fist out of water if you are caught wearing your studio drab in actual public outside of Alfred. This happened on a trip to Cornell University when we all got off the bus in our flannel shirts, earthy leggings and sweaters. We kinda felt like a dust ball that rolled across campus...it was such a contrast. I've also noticed that the higher up in Harder Hall you go the cleaner the people seem. When you work on design you don't have to worry about getting paint or ink all over your nice jeans or mud all over your self from ceramics. I've also found from working in ceramics that electronics have a shorter life span in these areas so usually students in these parts have army work mans proof phones.
Engineering students also have a dress code, though their clothing has less to do with function or association with their work. Their clothes will more than likely be Representative to their interests, perhaps a sports affiliation or towards comfort and aesthetics.
But one thing is for sure, Alfred brings out the country hick in ya' with our crochet hats and gloves to our outdoor sneakers and bikes and our constant reminder from nature that we are in the middle of no where far away from anything but Walmart fashion.

Fire on Main Street

The morning of the fire (it was a Thursday), I was woken up by loud trucks going up and down the Ford Street hill very early. I thought it was just the garbage truck, but at one point I opened my eyes and saw flashing lights on the opposite wall. I heard the siren go off, then it went off again. I checked Facebook, and gasped loudly, waking up my roommate. With barefeet, we ran to the chilly balcony and saw the pillar of smoke. I took pictures, then ran to the top of the Women's Leadership Center and took more pictures. My roommate and I stood there for a good ten minutes, just watching and listening.

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

Deer Stairwell

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.

Chorus Room in Miller

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."


I've only officially been to the Stull Observatory once, and it was great.  But my favorite part of that experience had nothing to do with the telescopes there.  While waiting in line, I looked up at the clear night sky, lost my balance a little bit, and tripped into the shadow of the building.  I looked up again and the numbers of stars had increased tenfold.  While everyone else enjoyed tiny, singular Jupiter for 5 seconds through the telescope, I laid in the grass in the shadow of a building and enjoyed the Milky Way.

The Alfred Siren

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 need your help! :D

Hey All,
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
the gothic
allen hall
south hall
stull observatory
susan howell hall
seidlin hall
davis gym
40 north main street (the gallery)
davis memorial carillon
alumni hall

Alfred Union Library
Kenyon Hall (used to be where powell is now)
Rogers Hall (also used to be where powell is now)
Herrick Library
Harder Hall
Scholes Library


Middle Hall
Burdick Hall
Kanakadea Hall
Babcock Hall
Fasano House
The Brick

Merrill Field
Harder Hall
Miller Performing Arts Center
Language House (12 Park Street)

Thanks, everybody!!

Team Tortuga
(aka the Transformation Group)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Alfred bee man

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


While the Old Farmer's Almanac is not unique to Alfred, NY, the information it contains about Alfred is unique to the area.

Robert B. Thomas was the original editor of the Almanac and the first copy was published in 1792; he also created the weather prediction formula still used today.  Its publication stayed strong until 1936, when the current editor, Roger Scaife, edited out the weather forecast from the almanac. In 1939, though, it was then bought by Robert Sagendorph, where it's tradition in forecasting was carried on.

Three editions of the Almanac are published four times per year.  The New England edition is printed in Boston.

A matter of accuracy . While the Almanac claims 80% accuracy, some say only around 52% come true (which is little better than guessing). (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/forum/february96/weather_2-2.html)

The following is data specific to Alfred, NY, spanning every 5 years, from 1970 to 2035.

April 22, 1970
Sun    rise 5:20 A.M.   set 7:00 P.M.    length of day 13:40

April 22, 1975
Sun    rise 6:20 A.M.   set 8:00 P.M.   length of day 13:40

April 22, 1980
Sun   rise 5:19 A.M.   set 7:01 P.M.   length of day 13:42

April 22, 1985
Sun   rise 5:19 A.M.   set 7:01 P.M.   length of day 13:42

April 22, 1990
Sun   rise 6:20 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.   length of day 13:41

April 22, 1995
Sun   rise 6:20 A.M.   set 8:00 P.M.    length of day 13:40

April 22, 2000
Sun   rise 6:19 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.    length of day 13:42

April 22, 2005
Sun   rise 6:19 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.   length of day 13:42

April 22, 2010
Sun   rise 6:19 A.M.  set  8:01 P.M.   length of day 13:42

April 22, 2015
Sun   rise 6:20 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.    length of day 13:41

April 22, 2020
Sun   rise 6:20 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.   length of day 13:41

April 22, 2025
Sun   rise 6:19 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.    length of day 13:42

April 22, 2030
Sun   rise 6:19 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.   length of day 13:42

April 22, 2035
Sun   rise 6:19 A.M.   set 8:01 P.M.    length of day 13:42

While the sun may set at a specific time "on the books" so to speak, the hills here create their own rise and set time.  In winter, on the shortest day, the sun can easily set before 4:30, only because of Moland Hill.

So what or who is really in control of our natural light?  

An overlooked bridge

This bridge adjacent to the Brick is very often overlooked. Yet one should see it as an architectural feat. From the Roman Empire to modern-day steel the bridge has overcome many design changes. Yet this bridge serves more than just a crosswalk over water. It is the gateway to our campus, and frames the cornerstone of our identity, King Alfred.

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.”

Strays in Alfred

stray (v.) Look up stray at Dictionary.com
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. estraiƩ "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.


Its spring … well sometimes. And that means that hopefully flowers will be in bloom. One of the most iconic flowers of spring, the daffodil has a presence on the Alfred University Campus. These perennials are often seen in churches during the Pentecost season. Generally yellow or white in color they grace many a flowerbed mid-March through April.

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.
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.
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.

Alfred bus shelter aka "Alfred Plaza"

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.

Works Cited

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/)

An unfamiliar place on Sherman Road

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.

Before Route 21

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

Drawn to Diversity AKA D2D

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.

Magazine Cover


Reserving space for blog entries about the odors of harder, sustainability on campus, and the best designed dorm rooms

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Backs of Buildings Continued: Mapping the Alley Behind the Rose Bush Block

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 faƧade 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.

Work cited

The Alfred Historical Society and Baker’s Bridge Association. History of Alfred, New York. Dallas Texas: Curtis Media Corporation, 1990.

Ghost sightings

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.

Alfred State Green House

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.