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West Hall Revival West Hall Revival
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“There is a reason human beings long for a sense of permanence,” James Howard Kunstler writes in The Geography of Nowhere. “We know not where we come from, still less where we are going, and to keep from going crazy while we are here, we want to feel that we truly belong to a specific part of the world.” For many in the Rensselaer community, that sense of permanence is embodied in West Hall, the 136-year-old building that looms over the northwest corner of the campus and has for more than 50 years served as the Institute’s face to the world.

In West Hall’s long history, tens of thousands of hospital patients, high school students, and generations of Rensselaer students and faculty have undergone dramatic changes within its walls. Each new owner possessed a transformative vision for the building and carried out substantial deletions, additions, or renovations to the structure. But every period of vision and hope was also followed by a subsequent period of decline, so it should come as no surprise that, in many places, West Hall needs a lot of help.

by William Patrick
Color Photo by Gary Gold

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in March, June, September, and December by the Office of Communications.

 
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