Clement Academy of Chemistry

Trinity College’s Chemistry Department, site of the invention of cyanoacrylate adhesives, still resides in the neo-gothic Clement Hall. During our time there in the early 2000s, the Harry-Potter-esque design combined with the “magical” reactions we ran made it easy to view the building as precisely the place real-world wizards would work.

Clement Academy of Chemistry

Mighty Midtown

Neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, Chelsea, and the Bowery are remarkably low-rise until they suddenly run into the wall that is Midtown Manhattan. The new pencil towers under construction may look out of place, but at least they don’t block the views of nature to the north.

Mighty Midtown

Chemistry from the Library

One of Trinity College’s oldest buildings (Clement Hall, home to the Chemistry Department where I got my bachelor’s) is across from one of its newest (Raether Library and IT Center). From inside the modern surfaces and behind the modern windows, Clement looks even more Hogwartsian than it does typically.

Chemistry from the Library

New and Old Wood

The expanses of wood in the modern architecture of Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Building contrasts with the timber-framed buildings of old Berkeley across the street. As campus expands and the needs of modern Berkeley grow, I expect most of those older buildings in the space between Shattuck and Oxford will eventually vanish.

New and Old Wood

A Sunset No Longer Seen

Though UC Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Building still stands, this particular view of the sunset lighting its wooden overhang is no longer available; the construction of Berkeley Way West in what was once the building’s parking lot has closed off that section of sky.

A Sunset No Longer Seen

Avengers vs. King Kong

Manhattan has been the site of an unsurprisingly large number of climactic cinematic showdowns. In the dramatic golden light of an autumn sunset, this particular image contrasts two tall towers on the horizon: in the east, the Empire State Building, site of King Kong’s climb, and in the west, the new Hudson Yard buildings that bear a marked resemblance to Stark Tower from the Avengers.

Avengers vs. King Kong

Winter On Campus

St. Lawrence University’s campus is quiet for the moment; athletes have returned early from break but pretty much everyone else is still on winter vacation. The snow adds an extra layer of dampening.

Winter Trees Outside Johnson Hall

When they return,  the school will once again take on its weird ski lodge vibe.

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Frozen Retreat

North Country temperatures abruptly rose from 20ºF to nearly 60ºF before suddenly dropping to -20ºF—all in under 36 hours. The result was rain that completely melted almost all snow, followed by freezing rain that deposited a layer of ice, followed by a new 12″ of snow to replace what came before.

In the midst of that chaos, I visited the Grasse River through the center of Canton to see it rising above its banks and jamming the shores with ice.

Frozen Retreat

Boxes on Boxes

The first “real” snowfalls of the winter have arrived in the North Country, and I can’t think of a better time to look back on the never-snow geometries of Berkeley. The architectural possibilities expand when structures will never have to bear the load of a late-winter storm and stairs will never have to be scraped free of ice and snow. I think the design is particularly well-expressed in the boxes-on-boxes-on-boxes design of this building. The best detail, to me, is the sunlight passing in one side and out the other of the corner window on the first floor.

Boxes on Boxes