Urban Caving and the Oven Glove

After noticing this post online, I decided to do a little digging into this ‘new trend’ known as urban caving or urban exploring. Wikipedia has a pretty complete article, if you’re interested in learning more yourself. And it’s nice that this idea of really looking at our buildings and built structures appeals to me. It’s something that I’ve always been interested in, just seeing how all the spaces fit together, even if they aren’t meant for human habitation. Maybe especially if they aren’t meant for human habitation.

The idea of UE that really got to me is examining our history through the remnants of built structure.  It’s an almost archaeological sensation, like visiting a ruin or a sacred space of past ages.  I can remember climbing up into the attic of our church in my teens, watching the light filter down over various stored boxes and old church school supplies.  There was something magical and maybe a little spooky about it, like an abandoned building or a cabin sitting empty and alone in the woods.

In addition, there’s the excitement of exploration.  This I’ve seen most actively at college, both at the one I attended and the one I am currently employed by.  Higher educational institutions, with their array of buildings, comfortable nooks, and display areas for various departments and groups, are prime for non-trespassing exploration, simply because even the private instituions often open thier doors to the public at large.  There are some restrictions, of course.  At my alma mater, WUSTL, every building except the U College, where night classes were held, was locked down at 5 pm.  If you didn’t have the right security clearance, you weren’t getting in.  This was a bit frustrating for me at times as a major in Architecture and minor in Composition – I had full access to the Architecture building, but none to Language Arts.

Security is not so tight at my current employer, which I will henceforward refer to as the “Oven Glove” to protect the innocent.  The Oven Glove has no such wide-ranging security.  Offices and some classrooms are locked up, but mostly with physical locks only rather than any sort of electronic system.  I’m sure the labs are adequately protected, or else we’d be losing much more money to theft.  Still, the Oven Glove is basically an open campus.  Which means, while I haven’t nearly explored it to completion, I have found a few niches of my own already.  As an active member of the Oven Glove community, I look forward to finding more.

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