03 November 2009

Student Suicide at NYU's Bobst Library

A New York University student, Andrew Williamson-Noble, committed suicide in Bobst Library at 4:30 this morning. He died after throwing himself from the 10th floor into the central atrium below. (Read NYU President John Sexton's community-wide email in the Huffington Post.)

After a spate of suicides earlier this decade, NYU erected 8-foot plexiglass barriers along the atrium-side of the library's stairwells and corridors to prevent further attempts. I work in Bobst Library and can attest that it is one depressing, vertiginous folly. Thanks, Philip Johnson. I'm not being glib. Nothing about Bobst's design inspires scholarship or contemplation. It's uncomfortable, physically and psychically. Perhaps these reflections have no bearing on this sad story, but they're worth pondering.

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