Tree Rivals the Steeple

Snow levels and re-makes the world, if only for a short time. My sense of scale decouples slightly from reality; though I know that the chapel is far taller than any form, man-made or otherwise, on St. Lawrence’s campus, I can’t help but imagine these trees stretching to impossible heights.

Tree Rivals the Steeple

Night Before the Steeple

In the fall of 2013 at St. Lawrence University (on Parents’ Weekend, no less!), the gorgeous old copper steeple of Gunnison Memorial Chapel burned down from an electrical fire. Renovations and repairs are finally done, and the new copper steeple was delivered yesterday. Today, it will be hoisted up and returned to the top of the repaired bell tower, but last night I paid it a visit during the blue hour to get a feeling for the scale of the structure.

Night Before the Steeple

Beaux-Arts Trio

The ceiling of the gorgeous Hearst Memorial Mining Building demonstrates the drama of designing your building to mimic the dashboard of a steampunk tank. (Oh, was that not their intention?) Though I’ve posted photographs from inside Hearst Memorial Mining Building before (the past site of my co-author’s office), I don’t know that I’ve done justice to its ceiling before. That such rigid, “linear” materials as steel and brick and glass can be formed into such elegant, smooth surfaces continues to astonish me.

Beaux-Arts Trio

Nitobe Tree

While I’m on the trend of remembering summers past (and mourning the end of our own summer), I’m also going to reminisce about our trip to the University of British Columbia’s Nitobe Memorial Garden last summer. Look at that lushness. Foliage everywhere. And, as I like to joking call it, the “enormous bonsai tree” framing the soft scene.

Nitobe Tree

Golden Bricks

The glorious Beaux-Arts Classical Revival style of the Hearst Memorial Mining Building stands out among the sometimes-utilitarian University of California, Berkeley. That the building was renovated in the past ten years (but in a way that leaves this lovely lobby unmolested) thrills me. From a crassly photographic perspective, however, I’m most in love with the golden bricks in lovely geometric patterns, and the complementary color of the ironwork.

Golden Bricks

Stadium Perspective

I had the chance to wander UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium when it was nearly empty one Saturday afternoon. The texture of the weathered concrete is so rough and irregular compared with the smooth, almost-glossy metal of the stands themselves. When free of student mass, it makes for a lovely study in perspective.

Stadium Perspective

Reflecting Annulus

The quiet corners of Berkeley’s campus are united by the coniferous smell that takes me back to summers in New England. Even when science won’t cooperate, no walk home disappoints me if I travel through this strange, surreal little place.

(And as a note to the geometry buffs out there–yes, I realize that the annular part of the picture is not reflective. The name was too good to pass up.)

Reflecting Annulus

Best Seat in the House

Reality has taken this title a bit too literally. UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium is set into the hills above campus, but the degree to which this is true doesn’t become apparent until you see the surrounding two-story homes towering over the field. There’s a charming nonlinearity to the combination of massive, epic sports arena and charming local homes.

Best Seat in the House

Japanese Garden Fence

In the already quiet and calming Nitobe Memorial Garden, this particular corner is the quietest and most calming of them all. At the back of the garden, where few other visitors go, is this tiny fenced-off area. Though this yard is actually adjacent to the ceremonial tea house, I much prefer imagining that an elderly couple lives here, and will be out to tend the garden shortly.

Japanese Garden Fence