Art, Learning, and “Father”

Louis Park ’26 in Arts | September 23, 2022

The Taj Mahal, a tomb built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World and has kept the title of “the most beautiful building in the world.” One reason why the Taj Mahal is still considered one of the best creations is because of its perfect symmetry. From the garden to the waterway, and the building to the dome, the perfect symmetry of the building amplifies its delicacy.
While the Taj Mahal might be located halfway across the world, we have a building on campus very similar in structure. Did you know that Father’s Memorial Building, more familiar to us as Pop Hall, exhibits this artistic trait of the Taj Mahal, and even more?
Since I was a child, I lived my life accompanied by art. Beyond being just a school subject, art is the best way for me to express myself. Using my eye as an artist, I personally enjoy spotting the art that lies hidden within our life. As I walk around campus, one of my favorite hobbies is analyzing how Lawrenceville’s artistic beauty harmonizes ancient techniques with unique modern art. When I walk into Pop Hall, I am surrounded by artistic beauty. Just like the aforementioned Taj Mahal, Pop Hall is perfectly symmetrical when seen from the outside. All four sides of Pop, including its pillars, windows, and roofs, are identical. Even more surprising, however, is that this symmetry extends to the surroundings of Pop. For example, the Bowl in front of Pop Hall and the II Form Houses are spaced out in a perfect balance around the building. Also, if you look at the front of the building, the arch between the columns echoes the curves formed at the corners of The Bowl. In addition to the symmetry, I love seeing how the Gothic- style columns in front of the building intertwine with the Grecian columns that support the architecture. I found it very interesting that so many different art styles could coexist in one space. Of course, the interior of the building is also beautiful, with its harmony between shades of white and wood paint the chandelier penetrating the first and second floors.
I am, for sure, fascinated by the artistry of Pop’s construction and surroundings. However, beyond the artistic beauty of the building, I believe the value of learning and growth that this building provides transcends any of its visual elements. Pop Hall is our school’s language and philosophy building, where classes discuss each other's thoughts through the Harkness method. In a language learning space, creativity flows across the Harkness table. Furthermore, the various publication studios on the lower level of Pop Hall, where all the creation initiates with overflowing ideas. Harkness tables around Pop and media studios in the basement provide perfect locations for students to think freely without any constraints. Pop Hall is quite literally a space for creativity to roam wild. Through this, I think it is amazing how Pop Hall teaches the true value of learning by encouraging students to explore diverse thoughts and each other's words, foreign language or not, in Pop Hall.
Pop Hall is placed in front of boys' and girls’ freshmen houses and as a II Former, I pass by Pop every morning on my way to classes. As I start each day walking past Pop Hall and try my best to study hard, Pop Hall feels less like a building and more like, as the name suggests, a "Father," who will support me throughout my time at Lawrenceville.