New Year’s Day on Campus, 2014

There’s been something nagging at me for several weeks now and it was only today that things quieted down enough for me to try to find the answer. So this morning I dragged my family, including out of town visitors, all of us except the baby in various states of disrepair, over to Rice to look at patterns of stone and brick on old buildings. I don’t believe I’ve yet found what I was looking for but it was so lovely on the empty campus.

P1080069

I was struck again by the grace and beauty of the Physics Building and I stood in front of it for a long time. This is my favorite building at Rice and my love for it deepens steadily as I understand it better. Not long ago I came across these two images of men doing detail work on the exterior of the building. These pictures are especially interesting to me because they are orphans of a sort–I don’t know where they came from. They aren’t part of the William Ward Watkin collection and are only identified as “Physics construction, unknown source.” I think they too are lovely.

Physics construction unknown source 2Physics construction unknown source

If you turn around on a quiet day like today and look carefully at Sewall Hall, which was meant to reflect the Physics Building, I think you can’t help but feel . . . disappointed. It’s a pretty pale imitation and possibly my least favorite building on campus.

Sewall turret placement

Ah, well. Better luck next time.

Incidentally, it’s been a very wild two or three weeks for me–lots of travel–and if I owe you an email I apologize. I swear I’ll get it together tomorrow.

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3 Responses to New Year’s Day on Campus, 2014

  1. mjthannisch says:

    You know the towers on the physics building can be entered from the attic, but not those of Sewall Hall. (thought you might like to know that)

  2. And you probably know the Rice legend that the stone carvings on Physics and Lovett Hall were worked on by Grace Kelly’s father, right? It is interesting to note that the large owls on the Physics balcony seem “cruder” than some of the other stonework. Herzstein Hall? What is that? It’s Physics.

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