Misc //

Transient in life, but never in our hearts

Sam Langford shed a single tear

Sam Langford shed a single tear

Loss comes in many forms. Sometimes it creeps in quietly, unobtrusive until it is felt. Other times it comes in like a wrecking ball. For the late Transient Building, it was the latter, in the dead of summer, with nary a lost first-year to witness its passing.

How to mourn something so patently shit? Apparently not by paying respects in person–the cavity where Transient once stood is blocked off by a rent-a-fence and a sign warning “danger: deep excavation”[1], a move basically on par with stationing bouncers at a funeral. The best I could do was stand mournfully on Fisher Road and try to enjoy the newly unimpeded view of the Chemistry Building. It doesn’t come close to replacing the chemistry Transient and I had.

Transient was many things, but it was mostly asbestos. It never pretended to be what it wasn’t, i.e. in range of USyd Wi-Fi. It remained the home of those with expendable majors, for whom the challenge of complex room numbers, chair shortages and jamming bathroom doors served as a dry run for the perils of job-hunting with a degree in linguistics[2].

The people who knew Transient variously described it as “[seeming] structurally stable” (Lost on Campus), “the ugliest building on campus” (everyone), and, bizarrely, deserving of heritage listing (sydneyarchitecture.com). Yet in the end, the building lived up to its name. Vale, Transient. You will not linger in our hearts, but (given the fibrous asbestos), you may yet remain in our lungs.

[1] Yeah, of my heart.

[2] One thing a linguistics major does qualify you for is making good puns. For example, the Linguistics Department’s blog is titled “Transient Languages and Cultures”, almost certainly a nod to the building that was the department’s home for many years. The same blog also describes the Transient Building as “symbolising the impermanence of language”. We at Honi Soit hope the building’s demise isn’t a bad omen.