AIA CES Credits
AV Office
Abstract Publication
Academic Affairs
Academic Calendar, Columbia University
Academic Calendar, GSAPP
Admissions Office
Advanced Standing Waiver Form
Alumni Board
Alumni Office
Anti-Racism Curriculum Development Award
Architecture Studio Lottery
Avery Library
Avery Review
Avery Shorts


STEM Designation
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Skill Trails
Student Affairs
Student Awards
Student Conduct
Student Council (All Programs)
Student Financial Services
Student Health Services at Columbia
Student Organization Handbook
Student Organizations
Student Services Center
Student Services Online (SSOL)
Student Work Online
Studio Culture Policy
Studio Procedures
Summer Workshops
Support GSAPP
This website uses cookies as well as similar tools and technologies to understand visitors' experiences. By continuing to use this website, you consent to Columbia University's usage of cookies and similar technologies, in accordance with the Columbia University Website Cookie Notice Group 6

Closed Drawers // Imagine the Waldwick Tower

Avery 400
Apr 22, 2024 - Apr 26, 2024

Natalia Irina Roman

A video installation spanning four floors, created site-specifically for the Avery Building of Columbia University. Drawing inspiration from Bachelard‘s work, „The Poetics of Space”, this installation invites viewers on a journey of exploration and introspection through the interplay of video, own imagination, and architectural elements.

This video installation stimulates viewers‘ imaginations, offering insights into the otherworldy railway space of the Waldwick Tower, a former interlocking tower whose original purpose was lost amidst the global automation and centralization of railway systems. Drawing inspiration from Bachelard‘s „Poetics of Space,“ this installation presents the tower in a poetic light. The tower‘s architectural design, reminiscent of a domestic home rather than a specific functional structure like a water tower or swimming pool, prioritized visibility.

“Closed Drawers” is an endeavor designed to set viewers in motion while stimulating their imagination. Through a blend of visual fragments with the Waldwick interlocking tower and intertwined textual narratives, the installation serves as a portal into the otherwordly space of the tower itself. It invites the audience to embark on a journey of discovery, exploring the tower’s space and fostering a sense of curiosity and wonder.

Each segment of the installation offers a glimpse into the tower’s structure, whether it’s the concrete basement or an enigmatic chest of drawers. Viewers can engage with the work in passing, absorbing the essence of each fragment as they walk by the installation. Alternatively, they may choose to linger, delving deeper into the accompanying text inspired by Bachelard’s Poetics of Space, gaining access to layers of information about the history / preservation of the tower and poetry.

Organized as part of the Preservation Lecture Series, an initiative of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia GSAPP.

Natalia Irina Roman

Natalia Irina Roman is an artist, curator, and researcher, with a background in fine arts and public policy. Her diverse portfolio spans solo and group exhibitions internationally, focusing on installation, video, photography, and participatory art. Currently, Natalia is a visiting researcher and Fulbright Fellow in Historic Preservation at Columbia University. Since 2017 Natalia has been in a self initiated artist in residency with the German railway company Deutsche Bahn, holding a studio in a former interlocking tower on Berlin’s S-Bahn Line 3. In this context she has created various formats, such as art installations (here you find one example of a light installation she has done for a former interlocking tower); curated exhibitions for train passengers, to witness from the trains, through which she facilitated access to former interlocking towers to other artists; public talks, in which she connected railway employees with creatives; university classes she teaches at the Bauhaus University Weimar and at Berlin Art University, classes which take place on actual trains, in cooperation with Deutsche Bahn (here you see a short documentation of one such class; there is an upcoming similar international summer school offer later this year at Berlin’s Art University).