Every day must be a field day for the red-tailed hawks of Harvard Yard. The views from the sky are both dizzying and enlightening.
For us mere bipeds, that vantage point has to be accessed via the narrow stairwells and ladders that lead to the tops of the iconic towers. The short of breath will find that pressing PH on the elevators of the tallest buildings achieves the same end.
There is a calm quiet in the balconies and belfries. Voices are muffled, and sounds are indistinct, betraying the busy-ness below.
Modern, colonial, and gothic architectures contrast across the campus. Lush courtyard landscapes, abstracted street patterns, and zigzag River Houses bend along the Charles.
Raymond Traietti, director of Memorial Hall, admires the neighboring 15-story William James Hall, built in 1963 and designed by famed architect Minoru Yamasaki. For years, Traietti engaged from the sidewalk with the “imposing skyscraper” and its “formidable blustery presence.”
“It was a revelation then to see it for the first time from the roof of Memorial Hall,” he said. “Seen in total with that graceful sweep up to the delicate top floor balcony, it looks modern and humane and optimistic, like its namesake.”