Bioshock the Interhovse

Blacker Hovse little interhovse this year was themed Bioshock. The lounge and dining hall were Bioshock 1 and 2, while the courtyard was the domain of Bioshock Infinite.
The dance platforms in the courtyard spread out to encompass the two trees in the courtyard. We had two “rope” bridges as part of it, and a double-decker section of the platforms.
Jeff and Jessica work on the platforms around a tree.


About half of the platforms are pictured here. You can see the rope bridges nearly finished.
We also had a giant angel statue in the courtyard, pictured here in progress.
The dining hall was made to look like the lighthouse from both games. We had a bathysphere, a giant bust of Andrew Ryan, and a banner reading “No Gods or Kings, only Man.”
The bust in progress and the finished bathysphere.
The Lounge was themed as Kashmir restaurant. We had tables with food set up, an old school projector showing screenshots of the game, a vending machine, a vita-chamber, various posters from the game scattered about, and a floor to ceiling mural of Rapture.


Part of the lounge, with the mural on the back wall and posters and projector pictured.


After Interhovse was over, we had a few dinners on the dance platforms.



Space Mining the Big I

Every other year all the houses band together to put on Big Interhouse. Each north house (and Avery) pairs with a south house to make a party in the courtyard of the south house, and all these parties are held simultaneously in one night.
This year, Blacker paired with Lloyd to have Space Mining the Big I.
Here’s some pictures of construction:


Brian making the electronics for the glowing crystals.


Frosh putting together the glowing crystals.
Catherine working on the dome that was going to be over the dance platforms.


Annie painting the dance platforms.
The dance platforms, mid-construction.
Putting the dome up.


More dome construction + Happy Milica
And here’s the finished product (all these pictures were taken the day after the party):


Dance platforms, dome, and DJ platform.


The back of the dance platforms.


More dance platforms!
We had a crashed spaceship in the courtyard.


A drill, for the space mining. It spun around!
Satellite, that also rotated!


Space Jellyfish, which we decided were the alien life on the space mining asteroid.


The mural was of a cave on the asteroid.


We built a sketchy mining card track in the lounge.


How to Build Your Interhovse

As you may or may not know, Little Interhouse is an party that each house builds and puts on once a year. Blacker’s Interhovse is always third term, and the hovse gets together to build something we deem awesome every time. This year’s theme was How to Train Your Dragon. We built our dance platform to be like the training arena in the movie, paper mached three large dragons, made two small houses, a giant mural, food worthy of the norse gods, and more. Here’s a collection of photos from Interhovse and its construction.

First night of construction, over a month before the party.
Building the dance platforms.


Safety Officer Yurko.
The important procedure of testing the strength of the wood through dueling.
Dance Platform Planning and Design 101 with Andre.
Catherine working on the support structure for one of the dragons.


Kit cloth macheing that dragon.
Both cloth and paper mache was used.


Mary painting it.
Kerry working her magic on the mural.
Moving the raised dance platforms.


Keegan working on another dragon.


Of course, the night we were due to paint the dance platforms, it rained, so we made Giant Fort the Interhovse.


The view from underneath. Almost the entire structure was painted under the fort.


Tots and Acid building a house.


Decorating the lounge.


Another paper mached dragon, hanging from the lounge ceiling.
The finished two-headed dragon in the courtyard.


Toothless! On the RA balcony.


The cutest sheep.


The food table (and finished mural).
The most delicious meatballs I have ever eaten. They took hours to make.
The finished Interhovse!




An Overture to Summertime

So far the living has been pretty easy around here since term ended. If you stroll around the Hovse, you might find Moles making liquid nitrogen Dippin’ Dots in the courtyard, watching movies in the Library, having inexplicably odd conversations in the Lounge or experimenting in alley kitchens. You may very likely get sucked into a Gravity Well, a Caltech phenomenon where a group of people gather to talk, and it is much harder to leave the conversation than it was to enter it! (As a new student here, you will quickly learn that Gravity Wells make excellent procrastination tools!)

We have something like 45 Moles staying over the summer, plus a number of summer students from other schools that come to do SURFs here. So the Hovse is quite lively during the evenings and weekends! It’s pretty great to get a lot of interesting Caltech people together without any problem sets or exams to worry about. Things can get pretty crazy during term, so it is nice to kick back during the summer.

That being said, it’s not just crazy during term because of the schoolwork. As a Hovse we have a lot of really awesome things that happen during the year. Allow me to acquaint you with one of our most exciting traditions… Interhovse!

During first term we built Big Interhovse, an event where all the four South Hovse courtyards have simultaneous themed parties with lots of construction and decoration. Our theme was Action Movie Climax. Naturally, we built a model of the Golden Gate Bridge for our dance floor, with 40 foot towers that extended well above the roofs of the Hovse…

The courtyard was also complete with a two-story Godzilla attacking a nuclear powerplant…

… and a 1976 Ford Cobra II Mustang that we got for free off Craigslist, carried into the courtyard and subsequently crashed into a tree!
We also painted a really cool floor-to-ceiling mural in the lounge for the party. In this picture you can also see a giant shark that we made for the courtyard and construction of a conical panel of monitors that went in the lounge for our evil villain lair.
All in all it was a pretty ridiculous party.
We also built Little Interhovse third term this year, which was a bit more small scale. Our theme was “Eccentric Millionaire Mansion” — we constructed a second story in the lounge with curved ballroom staircases. One part of the ground floor was turned into a secret room accessible only through a rotating bookcase.
One of the more interesting pieces for the party was a paper mache dragon head (creepy taxidermy eyes and all!) that was mounted at the top of our ballroom staircases.
The courtyard was a classy garden party with paper lanterns and a homemade gazebo.

It also ended up being a great party.

We’ve had a lot of neat Interhovse themes while I’ve been a student here — in addition to the two this year, I’ve also helped build a Doctor Seuss themed party and Epic Interhovse, which was based on the Siege of Troy, complete with a two-story wooden Trojan horse.
Building Interhovse is great fun because you get to work with the whole Hovse, and watch unbelievably cool projects come into being. What will we build next year? I don’t know, you’ll have to come see!