Lisa Anne Auerbach
Libraries are going through existential crises these days as they try to figure out their role in a digital world. Meanwhile, cycling for fitness and transportation is growing in popularity. Therefore what could be more obvious than turning a library into a velodrome.
At least it was obvious to Pomona College graduating student Samuel Starr, who built the velodrome as his final year thesis.
The designer writes:
Circulus is an installation and performance, a miniaturized bicycle track designed to fit inside the decommissioned Seeley G. Mudd Science Library. The track offers a circular trajectory for a cyclist to circulate the room once every five seconds. As a spectator and participant, I've often been mesmerized by the intense, aggressive movement of riders around these large, elegant ellipsoid structures. Circulus transforms the library into a velodrome, an arena that houses a bicycle track, juxtaposing the intense movement and noise of the bicycle and rider with the silent reverence implicit in the library space.
Upon completion of his project, Starr proceeded to demonstrate his cycling skills. According to the LA Times, he whipped "around the 132-foot circumference in less than five seconds a lap, he clocked about 1,600 circles, or 40 miles, one recent morning and, apart from a sore neck, seemed hardly the worse for wear."