UCLA Series: Boelter Hall and Math Sciences

We now take a look at a couple of buildings on the UCLA campus.  This will most likely turn into a series of architectural posts, each of which will examine a different era of building at UCLA.  These installments will not be in any particular order.

If UCLA's buildings have any one unifying theme, it is red brick facing accented by white or off-white columns and pillars or arcades.  This is seen in UCLA's  most iconic building of all, Royce Hall.

Hall and the connected Engineering and Math Sciences buildings date back to the early 1960s.  Regardless of your major, if you completed any degree at UCLA, chances are you took at least one course here.

In addition to Boelter and Math Sciences, the Engineering school occupies additional buildings in this interconnected structure. 

Note the white columns.  As with the old buildings, white support elements have been used here.  Through the years the planners of UCLA have done a good job preserving a sense of cohesion as new buildings have been continually added.  Brick facing and white accents are a common thread throughout.   Surprisingly for the more modern structures, the columns usually still appear serve a structural purpose, instead of being merely decorative.

Despite appearances, this is the fourth floor entrance. As evident here, the ground is rising towards our viewpoint; when we get up to the Court of Sciences the "ground" floor is the fifth.  There's not much on this floor, but in the old days this is where the computer was.  Not the "computing center", where students used to check out or use notebooks, but the computer -- an IBM 360 series model  Students came here to use the word processor WYLBUR and print out their theses and dissertations.  In addition to the computer room itself, there was another room nearby with half a dozen keypunch consoles, which didn't go entirely out of use until the 1980s.

I don't know what now occupies the room where the bank of manuals, dumb green screen terminals, and the support techs used to be available.

That big double door that led to this large room has been locked for years.  

Two floors above we find the mathematics department.  I wasn't a math major myself, but I did frequently walk through here during my student days at UCLA, 1982 - 1984.  As long ago as that was, the building's interiors have hardly changed at all since, and likely hadn't changed for decades before that. 

The first thing we notice on the sixth floor are the scores of history's great mathematicians depicted in rows of portraits decorating the corridor walls.  As an example we offer Leonardo da Pisa, also known as Fibonacci. 

Among other things, he is known for the Fibonacci sequence, which starts with the seed values 0 and 1 and forms each successive number by summing the previous two, as follows:

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, ...

Surprisingly, this series shows up in all sorts of strange places; in plants such as sunflowers and pineapples, the numbers of opposing spirals are usually two adjacent numbers in this series.  

Proceeding along the corridor, we look behind us and behold The Eye:

 Here's a longer shot.

On the left is the mathematics department office, and the bulletin boards display the same type of announcements and ads you'd see in any university math department.  The second display case has contained some department mementos which probably go back to a time before the department moved into this building.  There's also a plastic model of a Klein bottle--a sort of 3D version of a Möbius strip.  All of these items looks as if they haven't been changed in over fifty years.

The people in the office were unable to shed any light on the origin of The Eye, but it looks like an early computer graphics project.

Continuing east through Math Sciences and turning right into Boelter Hall we come across a couple of odd holdovers of an earlier time.  There's a built-in phone booth:

Built In phone booth

Almost directly across the corridor there's a men's restroom--but not just any men, because it was originally intended for faculty men:

Faculty Men only

This seems more suited to a high school campus, and is quite out of place here.  Although I doubt it was the case, it suggests there were also Boys' and Girls' rooms, and possibly also a Faculty Smoking Lounge.   I doubt if any attempt has been made to restrict the usage of this washroom for at least forty years, but the lock on the door does suggest it was restricted to keyholders at one time.

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