The world comes to the library

The library is known the world over for its beautiful architecture. In the last few weeks, architects from many different countries have visited our Library to experience Kahn’s design for themselves. Groups of 15 to 30 have come from Italy, Mexico and  Norway. Our guest book records the names and comments of visitors from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, Iceland, Germany, Croatia and Japan, as well as states as far away as Florida and California.  Visitors have written comments like: “What a masterpiece!,” “Great Architecture,” “Awesome,” and “Wow!”  The building also continues to be a teaching tool for professors of architecture. Individuals and groups from the Yale School of Architecture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, and the Dalhousie School of Architecture in Halifax, Nova Scotia have recently visited the Library for  projects they were working on.

Groups visiting the building should notify us ahead of time whenever possible, and be sure to check the library’s hours.

The Library Sparks an Artist’s Imagination

A digital artist who goes by the alias Alex Roman has created an exceptional short film inspired by Louis Kahn’s design of the Academy’s library. Working only with computers and special software as his tools (no still- or motion cameras were used), Roman has created a dreamlike view of the library’s interior spaces. It’s worth noting that Roman has never actually been to our library, and some of the details in the film don’t represent the actual physical reality of the space. It’s more a brilliant visual poem than an exact blueprint, and after watching it, we hope you’ll agree that Roman is an extremely talented young man.

We asked Roman to give us a little bio for this entry, and here’s his reply:

Jorge Seva, aka Alex Roman
Jorge Seva, aka Alex Roman

“I was born in 1979, in Alacant (Alicante), a city in Spain. I would first like to say that my real name is Jorge Seva, but I use ‘Alex Roman’ as an artistic alias for publishing independent work. After being trained in traditional painting at a few academies, I discovered this other world called CG. After school, I made the move to Madrid and began working at a visual effects company. That stint did not last too long due to the lack of demand for visual effects in the Spanish market at the time. It was then, that I switched into the VIZ business. I have been working for several companies since. Currently, I work on an “already-built work” visualization series which will be stitched together into a short animated piece.”

A few notes about the film:
– After clicking the play button, you’ll see a box that say “HD is On.” You can click it to see the non-HD version if you find that it’s taking to long to load properly.
– Click the box with the four arrows (in the bottom lefthand corner of the player) to see the film in fullscreen.
– The falling pieces of paper that you’ll see near the end of the film are Kahn’s blueprints for the library.

The Story Behind KEP House

An early KEP logo
An early KEP logo

Walking past 8 Elliot Street, you may have noticed an Academy sign that reads “KEP House” and wondered what KEP signified.  Are K-E-P perhaps the initials of some administrator or alumnus from Exeter’s past? The answer can be found in the Academy Archives in the pages of old Exeter Bulletins and PEAN yearbooks.  Here one discovers that KEP stands for Kappa Epsilon Pi and that the building at #8 was the home of the KEP fraternity, one of 6 fraternities that existed at Exeter about 100 years ago. 

The history of the fraternity system at Exeter is an interesting story that reflects some of the social changes that have occurred at the school.  In the 1870s, when many students lived in town homes, several “secret” societies were formed by students at Exeter as a way for them to gather and socialize.  Because these societies began to pose a discipline problem, Principal Fish abolished them in 1891.  However, in 1896, Principal Amen lifted the ban on these groups and allowed fraternities to form once again with closer faculty supervision.  Eventually, there were 6 fraternities—Phi Epsilon Sigma, Kappa Epsilon Pi, Kappa Delta Pi, Kappa Beta Nu, Alpha Nu, and Phi Theta Psi—each of which rented rooms in various homes near the Academy. 

Finally, in 1942, the faculty voted to close all fraternities.  By this point, all Academy students were housed in dormitories, providing more opportunities for friendships and social interaction.  There had also been an increase in the number of clubs and student organizations.  The house in which KEP met on Elliot Street was purchased by the Academy in 1944 and is today a faculty residence. 

The KEP Fraternity in 1934
The KEP Fraternity in 1934
KEP House today
KEP House today