The humble Temple of Zeus has relocated to the shiny new Klarman Hall, and although the soups may never again run out, my patience for people might. Repurposing the small, chateauesque appendage in the rear of Goldwin Smith Hall to house the Temple of Zeus (and direct people into the atrium of Klarman Hall) is a smart idea with visible problems.
The architecture is interesting, the renders deceiving and the humans’ spatial understanding humiliating. As one enters the central and grandiose entrance, it delivers people to the middle of a line with an unknown destination. Inside this clusterfuck of columns, tables and sheep actively debase human development. It’s like you’ve traveled to a forgotten time, where one can see and experience the ancient art of oral tradition. A southern wind brings whispers which speak to a younger generation, saying that this is indeed the sandwich line. On the opposite horizon stands a separate line for soup that marches in the direction of the sandwich line. The two lines merge into each other and leave the customer in an area of no significance.
But what if the Temple of Zeus were to use the poor organization to their advantage and include a dating service with your lunch experience? Once you get your soup, you could look up to lock eyes with your sandwich counterpart. At this point you would be able either to ignore or to act upon this opportunity by finding a table and sharing your complimentary foods with your potential life partner. But wait, you forgot to pay! The register is back by the door, blocked by the thick wall made of the sandwich line.
Now you must excuse yourself to customers to pass through and go about your day; but wait again! What if that was your true soul mate? Now you have the ability to choose from your two forced interactions thanks to the organization skills of the most either incompetent or lovestruck architect of all time. Not dissimilar to the love story that explains the counterintuitive nature of the entrance to Uris Library. Oh, Ezra.
If the dating service potential is to be overlooked and the circulation problems corrected, the higher-ups within Cornell should invest further in pedestrian traffic guards and their government issued-signage. Although they have already shelled out some money for retractable stanchions, the maximum limit of the budget is unavoidably tangible. Unless they planned for adults to eat their lunch on the floor, the boundary between where furniture exists and where it doesn’t, marks the end of the budget. After they filled the Temple of Zeus with tables and chairs I imagine they must have said: “that’s it, I’m drawing the line. 61 million dollars and a couple hundred bucks is just excessive. Nothing more than the $61 million. Klarman Hall is a hall, the title offers no obligation to provide accessories that make doing anything other than walking or sitting possible.”
I hear rumors that they actually never intended to place furniture in the hall and that they are trying to make Klarman the next creative incubator. Tables and chairs would only hinder the imagination of the college student. Fifth year architecture student, Daniel Toretsky, chairman of the imaginary student coalition of Klarman Hall gives it two thumbs up.
After all this slightly garish and completely unnecessary criticism, I have to look inward and question my authority to make these judgements and weigh alternative viewpoints. Maybe it’s the foundation of some complex and superior human circulation system that we are just now beginning to figure out and owe our incompetence to. Maybe Klarman Hall will go down in history and become the standard floor plan to all future human organization, but now … all we can do is wait. And hey, the soups are just as delicious and the workers are just as friendly — at least now it looks more like a temple; money well spent.
Danica Davis is a senior in the College of Art, Architecture, and Planning. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.