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I was recently on the UCLA campus (University of California Los Angeles) and I saw the Bunche Hall. I love the design and the architecture of the building. However I saw a little (what I would call) a closet with no door on the side but it was just three walls with a roof, extremely small, underneath the stairs, outdoors, a bit below the floor level. There is a small alley and then you take two stairs down and the closets face a fall.

I don't even know what to call it. My question is, from architectural/structural engineering point of view, what is this building device? Why is it there? What is its purpose? What is it even called? The two closets reminded of telephone booths but there was nothing but dirt, cobwebs, and leaves in there. Were they once used for something? I am posting the pictures below.

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I do not know, I've never been there and I have no other information other than what is in your question. However, ...

I'd say that best guess, until somebody who knows more presents, is your suggestion of now-unused telephone booths.

On the wall are two plates. These are at the same height in each case and consistent with connecting a telephone. Other equipment may be equally possible (eg: ATM machines, but seem less likely). More details about these plates and what is under them is probably the best clue apart from finding somebody who knows.

enter image description here

There are other wall marks suggesting mountings and possibly a shelf on the right hand wall in the right cubicle, but high up marks in the left hand one are not so obviously relevant,

The lights were almost certainly identical (diffuser missing at right) indicating downwards illumination in both cases.

enter image description here

Reality? I don't know. But, if I had to bet your life on it, I'd guestimate telephones.

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    $\begingroup$ Got to love betting the OP's life rather than your own! $\endgroup$ – AndyT Apr 7 '15 at 12:09
  • $\begingroup$ Wish I could upvote more for the extreme CSI zoom. $\endgroup$ – regdoug Apr 9 '15 at 4:26
  • $\begingroup$ So let's go unscrew those plates! $\endgroup$ – Mike Supports Monica Apr 14 '15 at 5:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Mike - I'm working on it. It's a bit hard from New Zealand - but, I'm working on it. $\endgroup$ – Russell McMahon Apr 14 '15 at 19:36

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