The Big Chair Returns

The Big Chair Returns

Last week, the classic “Big Chair” returned to its beloved spot on Parrish Beach. This icon of the campus was permanently retired last spring after wear, tear, and weather final took its toll making the chair no longer safe to use. According to Vice President of Facilities Stu Hain “When Jake Beckman [’04] built the chair it was as a piece of art and not built of materials that would hold up under the stresses they received,” Hain explained. “We fixed it many times. It is now beyond our ability to make it safe without changing Jake’s intent.”

Relaxing the shadow of the "Big Chair" on lovely October day. photo credit: R. Maurer

This winter the college asked Jake to rebuild the chair with the help of a structural engineer. This team analyzed the faults of the original chair to guide the design of the new chair.

They built the new chair out of cypress. This tree produces an oil called cypressine which acts as a natural preservative within the wood. This inherent characteristic makes it durable and extremely resistant to harsh weather conditions, insects, and fungus.

All of the joints and stress points have been reinforced by steel screws and bolted together. For a final weather proofing touch, the feet were sealed with epoxy.

Artistic commentary on the return of the "Big Chair." photo credit: R. Robert

Students and visitors alike have been making artistic statements with the small Adirondack chairs as well as with the “Big Chair”. Stop by to make your own statement and visit the “Big Chair.”

Becky Robert
  • Rhoda Maurer
    Posted at 10:30h, 12 May Reply

    I too am so glad this chair returned and photographed people enjoying it last night in the beautiful spring evening. The lawn was a little long too because of all the rain we had last week. So the chair looks like it’s sitting in somewhat of a pasture!

  • Melanie Jolicoeur
    Posted at 10:28h, 26 May Reply

    What a fantastic chair! I’d love to have one in the field near my house!

  • Eve Thyrum
    Posted at 09:09h, 05 June Reply

    Hooray for the Big Chair, so happy to see it’s back home!

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