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On Erdman

calamityschild's picture

I chose to have class in the Erdman commons space today. I chose it because I think Erdman is such a distinctive dorm, and so unlike anything else we have on campus. I think most students prefer the more classic, Jacobean Gothic architecture at Bryn Mawr, and I'll admit that it's very impressive and aesthetically pleasing. However, I always thought Erdman had a certain endearing charm to it. I live in Exeter, New Hampshire, which is home to the largest secondary school library in the world. The library in question was designed by Louis Kahn, who also designed Erdman. I've noticed a few similar details in the buildings, and I think of Erdman as a little reminder of home. 

I thought the space served as a good site for the classroom today. With the particular activity we did with the silent discussion, I thought the walls and the sheer space of the room was well-suited for its purpose. I think the amount of light filtering into the room, the concrete walls, and the unique shape helped facilitate an environment of respect and awareness during the activity. As I walked from one post to another, I was conscious of how loud my steps were, which is not how I go about walking in my other classes. The acoustics of the room might not make for an ideal classroom, but I thought that it was quite appropriate for a reflective activity such as the silent discussion. I noticed my classmates looking upwards at the high ceiling and the bulbous lights. I felt very comfortable in the couches we pulled together, which I thought created a very casual atmosphere, unlike a traditional classroom. The biggest drawback of the room was that peoples' voices carried in a way that made it hard to hear. This is a disadvantage because, of course, it's important to hear everyone, but I think it also challenged people to speak with more conviction and a greater volume. I'm not sure why, but I also got the feeling that students were a little more quiet today. I don't know if it was because of the room. I thought maybe it was because the size of the room and the way we had to speak up made people feel more exposed and uncomfortable, but it could have been because of other factors. The experience was, overall, a positive one for me, and I hope it was enjoyable for everyone else.