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Broken Down
David Gissen
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In the academic year of 1993-94 the elevator at Columbia University’s architecture school—Avery Hall— often broke down, typically stuck on the first floor, put out of service for days, and sometimes for a week or more. For most people this was a nuisance. Avery Hall is a multistory architecture school at the upper levels of a multistory urban campus. In 1993, I was a new graduate architecture student at Columbia, entering an institution renowned for its vanguard approach to architectural pedagogy. I was also learning how to walk on a prosthetic leg that extended all the way up to my left hip. I had only been an amputee for a short time and had previously used a wheelchair and crutches.

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