We're looking down the hallway (facing south, I believe) inside Caltech's Henry M. Robinson Laboratory of Astrophysics. As I mentioned yesterday, its denizens are packing for their move to the new Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics.
The Robinson Laboratory was built in 1930 thanks to an endowment provided by Henry Robinson, an early trustee of Throop Polytechnic, the institution that became Caltech. This building was part of a trio that included a Machine Shop and an Optical Shop. At the time, this was all about building the world's largest telescope at Mt. Palomar, the mirror for which was ground and polished at the Optical Shop. The Machine Shop was torn down in 1969 but the Optical Shop remains, now used for offices of the physics faculty.
I fell in love with the Robinson Astrophysics Lab. It has several charming appointments, including the interior and exterior custom light fixtures. My photo below isn't the greatest--well, neither of these are, frankly, but this was not a tripod tour--but you can pick out the little Saturn shapes on the fixture. I'd love to have it in my house.
Unlike its companion the Machine Shop, this building is not going to be torn down. In fact Barbara, who led me on my Caltech tour, was enthusiastic about plans to repurpose it as the Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for Global Environmental Science. More on that tomorrow when we visit the library at the end of the hall.
For historical information about the buildings I'm indebted to Romy Wyllie's gorgeous book, Caltech's Architectural Heritage, and to Barbara for loaning it to me.