Two Things I’ve Never Seen Before plus A Trap for the Unwary

The back of the Chemistry Building, 1925:

Chem Building back view 1925

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never seen a clear shot of the north side of the Chemistry Building but I found this one yesterday while I was digging around for images of the Chem Lecture Hall doorway. It looks enormous, even bigger than the front, I suppose because the south side is broken up by those wings. Honestly, I’m just thrilled by this.

And as I was walking across the quad yesterday morning it occurred to me that although I’ve seen many pictures of commencement taken from the upper floors of Lovett Hall, I’ve never seen a picture of commencement preparations taken from up there. This is understandable, of course, but I would maintain that the preparations are every bit as photogenic as the event itself.  So I climbed up and asked a nice young woman if I could go out on the balcony outside her window in order to remedy this situation myself:




Bonus: I can’t believe I never noticed this before.



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9 Responses to Two Things I’ve Never Seen Before plus A Trap for the Unwary

  1. I am entranced by the discrepancy.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      I don’t know if that’s brilliant or awful!

    • mattnoall says:

      What discrepancy ? Any old fashioned comp sci student would tell you that III or 3 or “C” all point to the same index location–the third element of a string or array. Use of Roman numerals should be cause for a reduction in points, though, since Roman numerals do not have a zero!


  2. marmer01 says:

    It’s brilliant. The only awful thing is that you didn’t think of it yourself. That’s why people groan when they hear puns. 😉

  3. I took some commencement photos from the roof of Lovett Hall. It is quite walkable. I’m guessing that was sometime from 1977 (Wiley Sanders, Editor) through 1980 (my penultimate year at Rice).

    As for Chem, that is quite a facade. We also get to see the limits of 1925 lens technology. In the center, you can count the bricks. At the edge, it is an even, blurred grey.

    Isn’t there a loading dock on the back of Chem now? Chem Stores was back there. Students learned about that when they broke some glassware lab.

  4. Gloria Tarpley '81 says:

    And at one point in time, if I recall correctly, the Philosophy Dept. was located one floor below the Religious Studies department during the late seventies and early eighties — Religious Studies boasted of being closer to God that way……

  5. Keith Cooper says:

    On Chem, or Keck as it is currently named, it is interesting to see remember what it looked like before the OSHA-mandated, Hackerman-era exit stair structures were added.

    I was walking past it yesterday looking at the differences between the original brick (maybe Houston brickyard?) and the modern (presumably St. Joe) brick

  6. These first generation buildings are very cool in the way they use asymmetry in their designs. The overall mass would lead most designers to a very symmetrical building, but there is a lot of change as you move from one end of the building to the other. The relationship of pilasters to windows, the grouping of windows, the wall line, etc. etc.

    Then came the 60′ and 70’s designs. Maybe people just had to become kinda crazy to offset all the danged boxes that we were getting stuffed into then.

  7. mjthannisch says:

    It is possible that the Bricks were from Thurber, which at its apex produced 80,000 bricks a day, although mostly paving bricks.

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