Friday, October 11, 2013

Kaleidoscopic

You remember how the Benton Room became a bee in my bonnet early in my time as amateur local historian of The New School? I was obsessed by its colors and by the way it had defined the place for generations, but was now almost entirely forgotten. This year's obsession is looking also to be about color, spaces and memory. Triggered by the above image of the color scheme of the dance studio, I've remembered reading that the whole building was in bold colors from floor to ceiling, indeed even including ceilings and floors. Apparently there are more watercolors in the Urban papers... But in the meantime, look what I found in an article a colleague sent me - a detailed account of the New School for Social Research building at 66 West 12th Street by a Shepard Vogelgesang in The Architectural Record (Feb 1931), 139-50. To my delight it even includes a photo of the room in which J and I taught the first iteration of our New School history course - now in drab white and wood. And the description of the ninety different colors used in the building also confirms another thing I was sure I'd heard: that the view of the building at night was of a kaleidoscope of colors spilling out on to the street.

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