I’m a proud resident of Burton-Conner, a lovely dorm with nine floors of varying cultures. The dorm is being renovated starting next year, and although I’ll I really don't know how the COVID-19 crisis will influence the renewal, but.. be moving back in as a senior, the dorm won’t be the same. Some of the modifications that are being made are ones students have been advocating for for years—namely, windows that don’t scream whenever it gets even the slightest bit windy—but one of the most noticeable changes will be the freshly painted-over walls. Each floor of BC has a number of murals that are important to floor culture, so this is pretty tragic.
Thankfully, efforts to preserve the murals are being made. Each floor tagged and documented its murals this semester, and high-definition photos will be taken so that the murals may be restored. Also, sliding wall panels for students to paint on, which were piloted in Next House, will also be implemented in the new Burton-Conner. It’s not ideal, but it’s something.
So, yes, BC isn’t being torn down forever, and there’s a good chance that most of its culture can be restored, but this renovation is still impactful on each of the dorm’s living communities. And that’s why I’d like to showcase/preserve some of its culture within this post!
Spaceman Spiff Stairwell Mural, by Rob Stokes and Meg Golden ’97
I was curious about this mural, so I reached out to its two creators. Rob told me that before Spaceman Spiff, the B1 mural was the blue flying glove from the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. It kind of small and a bit before their time, so they decided to create something more grand to welcome people to the floor, given that most B1 residents use the stairs.
At this point in time, B1 didn’t have a well-established floor personality, so they decided to run with a comic book theme that was in line with a previous mural. Rob loves Calvin and Hobbes, so he championed the idea of a related concept, and the floor settled on Spaceman Spiff planting the B1 flag. Rob visited a few years ago and was happy to see not only that the mural is still intact, but that the floor has embraced the cartoon theme over the years.
Surrealism commentary on female sexuality, by Sammi Cheung ’22
World Map, by Mina Healy ’15
This mural documents where everyone on the floor is from!
Grid collection of about 20 small paintings in GRA apartment
A very cute collection of paintings completed this semester (Spring ‘20) by 20 different people! The ones at the bottom are by the daughters of the Heads of House.
Jake the Dog and Finn the Human
What Is Love?
Insignia Stairwell Mural, designed by Elvie Stephanopolous ’07
The Persistence of Burton Third, by Heather Nelson ’20
Son of Bomber, by Karen Dubbin ’12 and Ian Rust ’10
DTYD XLV Mural
We have a couple of murals dedicated to our DTYD parties (read more about them here), but this is arguably one of the most striking ones.
The Burton Third Bananas
A Velvet Underground reference :)
Known as the Players!
Lobsters mimicking the Beatles’ album cover, by Andrew Xue ’21, Alice Zhang ’21, Sophia Chen ’23, Nathan Liang ’21
The backstory: they saw a similar mural on the wall of a lobster restaurant in Maine and decided to put their own B4 spin on it.
Burton 4 Handprint Wall
This has the handprint of everyone who’s ever lived on B4.
Poker-Themed Hallway, by Nathan Liang, Ella Richards, Shannon Cassady, Sophie Herscovici, Sophie Anderson, Anna Kooperberg, Andrew Xue (21’s) and Laura Li, Jamie Rich (20’s)
A poker-themed hallway mural featuring “Burton 4” right when you leave the elevator, a Las Vegas-esque sign, playing cards, a poker table, and a roulette table.
Elevator Mural, by S. Southerland ’12, L. Matloff ’13, M. Alba, C. Strong circa 2012
This floor is known as the British floor. Find out why in this post!
Comic Strip Mural, located in 223 suite
The story behind this one is interesting…legend has it that someone painted it because they were mad at hearing their suitemate having sex all the time…the clam in the comic, allegedly, is the suitemate and his girlfriend because they’re conjoined. LMAO
Banksy draws the Queen as Ziggy Stardust
The no potato famine
Located right outside the Connorside elevator, this mural is the floor’s most iconic.
Just Missed My Crush
For All That We Hoped For
Pirate Logo, located outside floor lounge
A “portal” to C5, located outside the up-down suite. C5 has its own portal on its floor.
Crab With Top Hat, by Emma Tolley ’11
The good ol’ MIT touch…
For a bit of context, this floor likes hockey and is dinosaur-themed :)
Astronaut on a rocky planet, by Greta Farrell ’18, Clio Macrakis ’18, Colin Poler ’18, Andrea Li ’18
This mural is based off a NASA work. I reached out to the artists to ask about it and was told by Colin that it was started in January 2018 and finished on June 9, the day after his commencement. For an interesting bit of trivia, the floor had a space-themed cocktail party on April 28 to celebrate the mural being recognizable. Also, everyone had different opinions about which colors were red vs purple vs pink, leading to the term “pedurple.” cute!
Ice Skating Dino, by Lexi Schneider ’21, Andrea Li ’18
Exercise…Some Motivation Required
The subject of the C4 portal.
Hamilton: How lucky we are to be alive right now, by Ria Das ’21, Lexi Schneider ’21, Andrea Li ’18
The story behind this one is exactly what you’d expect: the floor became obsessed with Hamilton and wanted to give it a tribute.
Paris, by Athena Sánchez ’23 (sadly unfinished due to the events of this semester)
I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of Burton-Conner’s many floor cultures!
@prefrosh: come live here when the dorm reopens in 2022 uwu