Thursday, July 25, 2013
I’d conservatively estimate that I’ve spent 30,000 hours in Crosley Tower since the Sociology Department moved to the tenth floor there around 1970. The university administration presented this as a temporary move – for maybe a couple of years, pending the construction of the new social science building. Now it’s forty plus years later, the new social science building remains on the back burner, and Sociology is still on the well-worn tenth floor. The faculty weren’t too thrilled with the move from the beginning. Despite its being the newest building on campus at the time, most observers regarded Crosley as aesthetically unpleasing – sort of like a Middle Ages fortress with parapets at the top designed to pour boiling oil on the huddled masses below. It was constructed to be a physical science building, but the floors were insufficiently sturdy to hold up the Physics Department’s massive equipment, so they put the lighter weight social sciences there instead (Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, and Political Science) along with Biology and Chemistry. The architecture seems more attuned to dour physical scientists than to cheery social scientists. The windows are small and above eye level, the hallways are bleak, there aren’t ready places for people to congregate, and office entrances are set back from the corridor so there’s minimal visual access to office interiors. The building is insulated with asbestos, so, when it comes time in the not so distant future for its replacement, it can’t be imploded. Rumor has it they will use giant helicopters to remove one floor at a time. Despite these quirks, I’ve always had a certain fondness for Crosley Tower. The offices are larger than those in most buildings on campus, and I think the structure has a certain bold, almost comic book quality. It’s not only the tallest building on campus, but one of the higher spots in Cincinnati.
My office (Room 1603A)
After I retired, the Soc Department acquired some extra space on the sixteenth floor, the top floor in Crosley Tower, and the department head graciously offered me an office there to continue my various pursuits. I was very pleased about that, and I normally go in several afternoons a week. When I commute between my office on sixteen and the main department offices on ten, I usually forego the elevator and take the interior stairwell up or down. Aside from occasional visitors to rest rooms there, you rarely encounter anybody going up and down between floors. It’s a sort of an isolated, eerie place. At least in my imagination, I figure I spend more time walking up and down on Crosley’s staircases than any other living human being. One day I took a couple of snapshots of the stairwell, and I decided that it posed an interesting photographic challenge. It’s such a drab, homogeneous, and inhospitable environment, yet it has its own peculiar sort of interest as the physical interior of a thoroughly bureaucratic institution – something that alien beings might have designed for humanoids. Here’s what Crosley’s innards look like, with photos taken at various spots between the basement floor and the roof).
-Jennifer M (7-26): Nice thoughts and photos of Crosley.