Robarts: I have foiled ye!


I feel like the protagonist in Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose now. Apparently, the secret wings of the library in that classic may be modelled on the futurist, concrete monstrosity which U of T tours claims looks like a peacock.

I have come to the conclusion that the architects of Robarts, Mathers and Haldenby, may have reached a new level of stupidity in this construction. Asides from its ugliness, the miscalculation of the weight of the building (just how DO you forget that the third largest book collection in North American is going to way, well, A LOT?) and the misuse of a beautiful skyline (there are almost no windows in the stacks of Robarts or its study spaces), the floors in the stacks are covered in cheap linoleum which makes even sneakers’ noise reverberate down the acoustic propagating corridors – this is particularly unpleasant when it has snowed or rained. I find it difficult to concentrate to the “squish, squish” of people padding to the bathroom.

I foiled it though. The apexes house the only windows of any size in Robarts and there is one desk to work on in front of each apex. The desk has a back to it so you can’t see out the windows. In a stroke of genius i decided to climb on a the chair and look over the desk… Lo and behold… i found a cozy window sill and heater on the other side. Using the corner as a chairback, which i padded out with my coat and scarf, i sat back there reading for over 3 hours last Wednesday. The desk served as a sound barrier. I was waiting for security to yell at me, but it never happened.

I pass this information on to others who, like me, found the one redeeming quality of the concrete monstrosity that is McGill’s McLennan library it’s great use of the VIEW out the windows onto the McGill campus. There is nothing like watching snow fall while taking a studying break.

It was snowing on Wednesday – and i got to enjoy it even though i was holed up in a library.

Take that Robarts!

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