Beloved friends, it is the time of year when we find ourselves floating within in-betweens. Between the changing leaves and branches to be bare. Between the dusk of one semester and the dawn of the next. Between the nostalgia for what’s to end and the anticipation for what’s to come.
The term for this phenomenon is liminality. To capture this quality/state/feeling, FM set out to find 15 of the most liminal spaces on campus.
Winthrop Dining Hall Hallways 🍽️
So sterile it really doesn’t feel real. Makes you feel like an NPC.
Quad Express 🚌
A place of transience. A bridge between two worlds. The ride is always somehow both shorter and longer than you expect.
On the T between Harvard and Central 🚇
The Harvard Crimson 📰
This building receives no natural light. Removed from the outside world, yet feeling hyper-aware of it as you report in it, you are sucked into a different dimension. Hours of writing, editing, and proofreading bleed into each other. What time is it? What day is it? Are you really here, or are you just a vessel for words on the page? You don’t know.
Lamont-Widener Tunnels 🕯️
Cold and dimly lit, these tunnels have an eerily archaic yet post-apocalyptic feel to them. All for… librarians to cart books from one library to another?
A 1982 Crimson article called Vanserg “Harvard’s Craziest Building.” From the front it just looks like a trailer, but enter and there’s dozens of classrooms, an archaeology lab, and Harvard’s piano repair shop. Built as a temporary structure in 1943 by the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development as a federally funded radar research lab, Vanserg is an acronym for Veterans Affairs, Naval Science, Electronic Research, Graduate dining hall. It’s as liminal as it gets.
Emergency exit stairs of William James Hall🪜
Cold, silent, and gray. Heavy parking garage vibes. The building is so tall that each flight of stairs blends into the next.
The Inn 🏫
Walking in, it feels like you’re in the panopticon. The fake skylights, the circular layout, a second floor looking down on the dining hall… Eerie surveillance state vibes…!
Second Floor of the Barker Center 📚
The layout of this floor puzzles students day in and day out. If you think you’re in the right wing of the building, you’re not. If you think you’re going to find Room 224 next to Room 222, you’re not. Countless students have found themselves in a bind between numbers, letters, classrooms, and wings, all in the pursuit of finding their professor’s office hours.
The Gender-Neutral Bathrooms in the Loeb Drama Center 🚽
Spectrums! Neutrality! Non-binariness! Stalls and urinals described in non-tropaic ways!
The MAC Parking Lot 🛣️
There is not a single hour of the day in which you can enter the MAC parking lot and not feel immediately uneasy.
Canaday Basement Boiler Room 🔥
Red walls (scary). Hot air (the literal fires of hell beneath a freshman dorm). General unease (if you’ve been in Canaday before, this won’t need explaining).
Harvard Stadium During Harvard-Yale 🏟️
You’re cold, you’re drunk, and you don’t have service. Good luck.
The Bok Center 🖥️
This building occupies the liminal space of looking like there’s absolutely nothing there until you go to the back of a hall, up the elevator, down another hall and BOOM you’re in a fully equipped MEDIA LAB. Who the fu*ck designed this building?
Longy School of Music 🎵
Not sure what Bard College is doing in between the Quad, Radcliffe, and the Yard, but it’s liminal. For sure, liminal.