Just a big ol’ Carnegie Mellon love fest

I’ve written this post multiple times in my head since I took these pictures last Wednesday, and each time I valiantly tried to make it sound more objective. But I can’t. The truth is, I really do love Carnegie Mellon. I always have. It’s the only school I applied to for undergrad, and it’s where I encountered the best teachers of my life. I met my best friends there, I met D there and I am so sickly-sweet-with-unicorns-and-rainbows happy to be working there now. A great friend and I made a pledge in the spring that THIS IS OUR YEAR, DAMMIT, and I really do believe that to be true.  A huge component of that is my new job, another is my health/getting back in shape and the rest is falling into place at its own pace.

Last week my department spent some time out of the office for a team retreat, which on Wednesday took us to Roberts Hall across campus from my usual haunts. (Lisi and Josh will probably get a kick out of this: I initially was picturing Roberts Hall=the new Building D. Remember Building D? Full of mystery and Indian food? But no, new Building D=Newell Simon Hall. Oops.) (And since everyone else besides Lisi and Josh likely read that aside as well, I should tell you that the reason I took the route to Roberts-Hall-oops-Newell-Simon-Hall that I did was because of my initial misconception. Otherwise I would have never chosen this path.)

I spent two and a half years in the College of Fine Arts building and a year and a half in the (then brand new) Purnell Center.

When the School of Drama moved out of CFA, we left behind decades of departmental tradition, a well-loved (read: well-worn) theater and at least one confirmed cockroach den for the great unknown of Purnell.

And yes, I know I’m showing you one yellow brick building after another, but this post is about the external aesthetics of the campus. I may delve deeper into what goes on inside the various buildings at a later date.

So just a bit down the sidewalk from Purnell is a path that leads to the lower level of campus, heading down to Panther Hollow.

I actually remember when they were working on this project, and what it looked like in its first version. It was so cool to have an easier way to get to that part of campus (Building D! Indian Food!) without having to go through buildings I always got lost in anyway.

I’m fairly sure these are new, though.

And hilarious.

But I do admire the sentiment – when I was walking down the steps and through the path at 7:30am it absolutely had the peaceful, reserved quality I associate with a nature walk in a park somewhere, not the middle of a relatively urban campus. Honestly, I should have recorded the birds chirping. It was pretty picturesque. Or auralesque.

When you get down to the bottom of the steps, there is a path that leisurely winds the rest of the way down a slight hill, in between tall grasses and wildflowers. And the birds. So. Many. Birds. Singing.

It’s also the first clear view I had of Gates from this perspective.

Last year, the Gates Building was completed behind Purnell, and the Pausch Bridge links the two buildings. I don’t really know how the rest of the campus community feels about Gates; I certainly overheard some minor grumblings from colleagues who were disappointed that it obstructs their (admittedly gorgeous) Oakland sunset views. My opinion? Pretty solid. Modern, tons of natural light, and completely devoid of yellow brick. That’s a win.

But lest you think I’ve a simplistic formula for architectural success, think again. Sorry, Wean. You’re still super ugly.

It was about this point on my walk that I of course realized my error and had to hustle to get up to actual-Roberts Hall on time. (I dawdled something fierce in the “Nature Preserve”). Roberts, for anyone needing to find it in the future, is an engineering building next to Scaife and connected to Hamerschlag with a little glass walkway.

Hamerschlag may be a more iconic building, but Roberts definitely has the better view (unless you’re in the tower) (which I wasn’t).

I’m really glad I had no idea where Roberts Hall is, and took a completely bonkers route to get there. I found my third favorite spot on campus and more importantly had a whole half hour to myself in “nature” without seeing another person. Just me and the birds.

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