Monday in Seminar, Professor Powers come to our class to discuss architecture, and the various ways in which it has reflected the values of society. I found it interesting that he described architecture as trying to provide a context for the life that will go on in and around the structure. I can relate this lecture to my high school. I went to Curtis High School which is the oldest public high school on Staten Island. Built in 1904, the building was constructed in a Neo Gothic style with gargoyles and pointed arcs throughout the structure. In my Theory of Knowledge course in high school we took tours of the building and examined the various architectural features which were present and what their purpose was when the building was first constructed. An example of this would be the blank scrolls which the gargoyles hold on the top of the building. These slates were said to represent the blank minds which students will fill with the knowledge they acquire at school. Another interesting feature of my high school is the double staircases. Apparently in 1904 boys and girls were not allowed to walk in the same staircases, so the builders constructed a male and female staircase. In recent years these wrapping staircases serve a different purpose. Due to overpopulation, these staircases help ease the traffic between classes.
I enjoyed going to a high school with so much history in its architecture. My grandparents attended Curtis in the 1940s and I truly felt as if I was walking through history when I walked the halls of my alma mater. When I made the decision to attend CSI I mourned the arched passageways and stone engravings which I had become accustomed to during my high school years. Nevertheless, Monday’s seminar class allowed me to realize the beauty in the architecture of CSI.
I look forward to studying more architecture and observing the various features present in the buildings of NYC.