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(8) Science Building and Darkroom

The lakeside bathhouse was converted into a science laboratory and darkroom. In 1943-44 an extension was added to the north end to house Fritz Hansgirg’s experiments in the extraction of magnesium from the locally abundant olivine. Hansgirg, a German refugee, held international patents on processes for the extraction of magnesium from sea water.

In September 1948 the building burned. Among the losses were Hansgirg’s experiments and Hazel Larsen Archer’s negatives which she had left overnight in the darkroom.

“A major job turned out to be the replacing of rotten sills under the concrete floor of the bathhouse which is being converted into science laboratories, a dark room, and a couple of studies. The work is directed by Fred Coolidge, a camper from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.” Black Mountain College Newsletter, No. 14, August 1941.

BMC Bulletin, Supplement to 6/1, September 1948

Science/Darkroom Building (on left)

Photos: Bacia Stepner Edelman, Dining Hall and Science Building (detail), courtesy Black Mountain College Project;
Stuart Atkinson, Arial view showing extension for magnesium plant (detail)  courtesy North Carolina State Archives, Black Mountain College Research Project.


The Black Mountain College Project gratefully acknowledges a grant from the Graham Foundation
for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts for a study of architecture at Black Mountain College.