Loggia: n. (loh-JA) A roofed outdoor walkway attached to the side of a building. Sometimes described as an outdoor hallway. See Grinnell College campus.
As you walk around the clusters of dorms on Grinnell campus, you notice that they all have one thing in common: loggias. Like many students, before I came to Grinnell I had no idea what a loggia was. When I saw the word written I pronounced it “log-ee-UH.” But now I realize just what a brilliant piece of architecture a loggia is, a structure not only useful for keeping the snow off your head during those cold Iowa winters and for serving as a pretty addition to campus buildings, but one that is simply essential to campus culture.
Each dorm cluster — north, south, and east — has its own loggia, but the loggias are each a bit different. North Campus dorms have a traditional loggia, with open sides and a fl at roof, right up against the building. South Campus has what is sometimes referred to as an “enclo-ggia” because the loggia is an enclosed corridor with windows instead of open sides. Traditionally, South Campus was home to women, and the enclosed loggia allowed for girls to move between each other’s rooms after the loggia doors were closed to all male visitors. East Campus has what I call a “faux-ggia,” because parts of it aren’t attached to the side of a building at all.
If you ever want to know what’s going on around Grinnell on any given weekend, you only have to check out the loggias. At any given time, the loggias are plastered with fl yers advertising parties, activity clubs, used textbooks for sale, campus speakers, and student performances. So staying up to date with campus activities is as easy as glancing at the pillars and walls of the loggias while walking back to your dorm.
The roofs of the loggias are as important to Grinnell as the walkways. Warmer weekends aren’t complete without a party or get-together on the roof of a loggia, with music, dancing, and sometimes even a grill-out. During the week, people will sit out on the loggia roofs to talk, do homework, and get some sun. Unfortunately, loggias can only be accessed by climbing through certain second-fl oor windows, but hanging out on the loggias is so fun and pleasant, it’s worth the scrambling around. Consequently, rooms with loggia access go quickly during room draw each spring.
Finally, loggias are the stage for some pretty entertaining activities. Last winter the modern dance troupe held their performance in the East Campus loggia, dancing up and down the walkway, with the audience seated at the entrance. Over the semesters, I’ve witnessed mud fi ghts, impromptu guitar performances, and rap battles in the campus loggias.
Without the loggias, the Grinnell campus wouldn’t be what it is. It wouldn’t look like it does, or have the social activities that the loggias enhance. And, oh yeah, it’s a lot easier to get around in the winter without having to trudge through the snow.
Kat Atcheson ’12 is undeclared and from Overland, Kansas.