Comment 73591

By Lakeside (registered) | Posted February 01, 2012 at 11:38:45

I love that inscription, especially the opening stanza.

A couple weekends ago we took a walk around the perimeter of the closed building. Up close, you can't help but note that this building is chock full of little details like this.

Every proportion has been worked out excruciatingly. Nowhere will you see a wall tile that comes to an abrupt end. Each element of the coffered soffit starts and ends perfectly. The terazzo floor in the lobby features an inlaid array of marble tiles that I haven't seen anywhere else.

The sculpture over the entrance depicts education through the ages. The above dedication is actually engraved into the wall tile.

Thought not in his style, the attention to detail shown here would likely have impressed even Mies van der Rohe, himself known to obsess over every detail in his buildings.

Also evident is the pattern of non-maintenance. Even the windows look as though though they haven't been washed in a year or two. What better way to garner support from its inhabitants for moving from the 'dirty' core and leaving the 'decrepit' building behind. Have you ever looked out a dirty window, and then cleaned it to see the difference? The difference is quite dramatic.

To see this building up close is to be impressed by the weight of this institution. But driving by at speed, and always from the same direction, this is lost. You really have to get down to ground level and dwell for a moment to take it all in, which further illustrates the need to restore the intended function of its, and City Hall's, forecourt. These areas should be redesigned to encourage use by the public.

We weren't able to get inside but just looking at the exterior, and what interior details can be seen from outside, it's apparent that Singer and his team went to lengths to give this building a soul.

Perhaps this is what bothers them (other than having to pay for parking and walk a block). It must drive them crazy to walk by all this lofty symbolism each day as they come in to close yet another Hamilton school. It must seem a building totally out of touch with the modern 'realities' of education, where costs have to be cut and pensions must be grown.

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