Building buildings

SMUS-Views-Bob

Last week I referred to the sacrifice of Malala Yousafzai. Today in Senior Chapel, Rev. Fletcher showed some pictures of the town in the Swat Valley, in Pakistan, where Malala went to school. Malala was the 14 year old Pakistani girl whom Taliban assassins attempted to kill over a week ago, because she blogged about girls going to school. The buildings in these pictures were abandoned shells, windows like dark, hollow sockets, empty of the people and purposes that built them.

This morning I also spent some time meeting with Paul Merrick, the architect responsible for our School’s master plan, designer of the Crothall Centre, Schaffter Hall, Monkman Athletic Complex and the renewed School House and expanded Library. The contrast between our buildings and Malala’s is not one of intention: I am confident that the buildings in the Swat valley were constructed with a long future in mind, to house the promise of decades and even centuries of the human civilization and creativity that its denizens envisaged. In the case of SMUS, I have confidence that the buildings will endure as long as the promise. They were built with permanence in mind, trying to convey in brick and mortar the message that we also try to convey in our Mission and Vision: we believe in these ideals so much that we want to construct buildings that are congruent with their permanence. No one can look at these buildings erected in the past ten years and doubt that they were built to last centuries. They look enduring. The students who fill these halls can know that they were built to reflect that their school believes in enduring things. School House was here when their grandparents were alive; it will be here when they are grandparents themselves. Vivat.

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Bob Snowden
Bob Snowden was Head of School at St. Michaels University School for 22 years, from 1995-2017.

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