For the second part in my mini-series on Usen Castles’ influence on Brandeis University architecture, I’d like to feature the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center. You can find Rosenstiel directly on the loop road, visible from South Street. With the new Carl J. Shapiro Science Center being built alongside it, Rosenstiel has had a little more attention lately. So how is Rosenstiel influenced by the Castle?
1) It’s designed to look like a fortress, with a very substantial and impenetrable appearance. At certain angles, the building appears to have no windows at all. The small windows it does have climb the building in small strips, leading your eye upward, giving Rosenstiel a strong and tall presence.
2) Notice the rectangular protruding concrete structures at the top of the building. This feature of Rosenstiel was derived from the crenelation of the Castle. Crenelation is the term for the pattern at the top of a castle’s walls or towers that provides small pieces of wall for archers to hide behind and small breaks in the wall for archers through which to shoot.
3) Despite the thin windows, Rosenstiel has a great view. The shape of the windows is actually consistent with typical castle structure, reducing the load of the exterior walls on the windows. I took the above shot from one of its staircases. The window glazing makes for a tinted photo. Like Usen Castle and Spingold, Rosenstiel offers one an excellent opportunity to survey the land as it towers above its surroundings.
4) It even has royal quarters! I climbed the stairwell to the 7th floor (who knew a bulding on campus had that many floors?) and found this sign by the door. Looks like you need royal permission to enter. That sure does make me curious as to what’s in there. If anyone knows, do inform the rest of us through the comments.
That’s my take on the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center. It may not be the prettiest building on campus, but since it takes features from the Castle I think we can all appreciate it. For better or for worse, it may not be around forever. If a former professor of mine is correct, then Rosenstiel is wired with aluminum rather than copper. Aluminum wire was widely used in the 1970s but has since been blamed for a number of house fires and is often not permitted for new construction.