Architect’s Sketchbook – Montclair State University (Sketches by @FrankCunhaIII, 2017)

College Hall is where the history and the future of Montclair State meet. It’s where every student’s college journey begins with Undergraduate Admissions and ends with the submission of their final audit to the Office of the Registrar for graduation.

College Hall is where it all started. Back in 1903, the New Jersey State Normal School in Trenton could no longer support New Jersey’s growing need for qualified teachers by itself, so the state approved plans for a new normal school to serve northern New Jersey. (A normal school was a post-secondary school devoted to training teachers.) And in 1908, the New Jersey State Normal School at Montclair admitted its first students.

College Hall’s Spanish mission-style architecture, which was adopted for other buildings on campus, was the inspiration of benefactor Edward Russ, a member of the New Jersey State Board of Education who liked buildings he saw on a trip to California. So he integrated the style into plans for College Hall, complete with red-tile roofs—a look that lives on in campus construction today.

In the beginning, College Hall housed almost everything—administrative offices, classrooms, a library and a gym. Today, it is Montclair State’s administrative hub, housing the offices of the President and the Provost, University Advancement, Admissions, the Registrar, the Graduate School and more.

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Dedicated to the first president of Montclair State, Charles S. Chapin, in 1928, it is one of the original buildings of the Montclair State Normal School. This former residence hall was renovated in 1974, and again in 2009, and is now the home of the John J. Cali School of Music. The Leshowitz Recital Hall is also located in Chapin Hall.

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Russ Hall was built in 1915 and served as the first residential facility of the State Normal School at Montclair, now of course known as Montclair State University. Converted at one point to an administrative building and then later renovated back to a residence hall, Russ Hall provides suite-style accommodations for approximately 100 students.

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IMG_2253Dedicated to Allan C. Morehead, an alumnus and former professor, executive vice president and provost at Montclair State. Morehead Hall was used as a demonstration high school from 1929 to 1973. It now houses several student support services offices.

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Ophiuchus: The Serpent Bearer (Playing With Numbers)

Whether it is because I have OCD or because I was raised Catholic and am fascinated with numbers, take for example the number 13 which is the number of letters I have in my name: FRANK CUNHA III (without the spaces); Some say that the concept of Friday 13 being an unlucky day is linked with events that occurred in the Christian Bible, and they interpret that these events occurred on a Friday. Examples include the great flood during the time of Noah, the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel, the day Eve tempted Adam with the apple, and the day Jesus Christ died.   But I digress, the point of this post is to memorialize my ability to finally record (albeit partially) the shadow of Ophiuchus cast onto the concrete pad at a popular sculpture located at Montclair State University.  I first heard about the sculpture from a studio professor at NJIT (Don Wall, friend to John Hedjuk).  I believe Don Wall was trying to stress the importance of context, spatial relations, and the memorialization of event in the design of Architecture.  I was finally able to capture the shadow after more than 10-years (I simply kept missing it as life passed by).  But here it is…..finally! 
(Click Image to See Larger Version)


Ophiuchus: The Serpent Bearer” sculpture by former professor Mac Adams is located adjacent to Finley Hall and Sprague Library. It is a fusion of art and science. “Technically, the shadow sculpture is made of steel wedges, bars and disks that seemingly mean nothing sensible,” Rodriguez explained. “However, the breathtaking image emerges when the summer sun casts the shadow of the work from noon to approximately 1:15 p.m. between May and July of each year.  (See other sculptures located at MSU.)

Because of the partial overlap of the constellation Ophiuchus and the Sun’s path upon which zodiacal longitude is based, Ophiuchus is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the ’13th sign of the Zodiac’. This is an inappropriate reference since the zodiac is a division of the ecliptic into twelve equal parts, initially originated for calendrical purposes. This makes the notion of a ’13th sign’ a mathematical impossibility. It is only correct to refer to Ophiuchus as one of the constellations which cross the zodiac; which does not constitute a zodiacal sign, of which all historical records acknowledge only twelve.