There are few people in this world who can get by with a single name, people like Madonna, Sting and various Brazilian soccer stars. In the world of the purple bubble, perhaps one of the few who could aspire to such status is the irreplaceable Dagmar Bubriski, long time resident of Williamstown and fierce critic of the college.

I never knew Dagmar personally, but I think that in the 1980’s she lived on Hoxsey Street and inspired fear in the hearts of the party hosts up and down Williamstown’s own Combat Zone.

In any event, Dagmar has a “Plea for Baxter Hall” in iBerkshires. Dagmar is — how should I put this? — not a fan of change.

Our planning and zoning boards have very little sway on these monumental changes in our town’s landscape in the center of our town, and, lacking any formal design commission to consider these architectural nightmares, we become the serfs in a feudal system where the reigning power lies with the college, and the power of their millions changes our town as we must helplessly watch.

No one loves purple prose more than EphBlog!

In any event, the article features lots of interesting historical nuggets.

It must be noted here that the Van Rensselaer house was torn down and discarded in the early ’70s to be succeeded by the Sawyer Library, which is now also to be torn down soon and discarded. It is indeed sad to realize that the Sigma Phi house began life as a wing of the great Van Rensselaer estate on the Hudson River long ago and was brought over the mountains stone by stone in 1898 by Sigma Phi for its use on this campus. It was also in that era that the Great Hall of that estate was sent to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where it is still an integral part of the famed American Wing.

Dagmar also notes that

To me, it makes no sense at all to destroy this fine building, when a third floor could be added, as well as extending the building out toward Park Street. Food Service could be moved out, there would be plenty of space, and the interior spaces could be totally redesigned for however it makes sense for today’s uses.
It seems utterly ridiculous and wasteful to spend many millions of dollars to tear down a perfectly fine building that was created to enhance the appearance of the Chapin Hall area and to build another factory-style edifice that has no place whatsoever in that milieu.

Part of me agrees with this. Whereas the case for a new science center was fairly obvious to anyone who spent time trying to do science at Williams, the claim that Baxter had to be replaced right now seems unmade at best.

The article concludes with some interesting suggestions and notes that “Dagmar E. Bubriski contributes articles to The Advocate from time to time and is a long-standing critic of modern architecture at Williams.”

If I only knew Dagmar’s e-mail address, I would try to recruit her as an author at EphBlog.

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