The Blender

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The Physical Science Center, or the Blender, is one of the more recognizable buildings on the OU campus. Standing on the South Oval looking north, my eye at least is immediately drawn to the two tallest buildings– the Blender and Sarkey’s. It’s so named because of its industrial appearance– there are rumours that it was built to be riot-proof–  and the interaction between the wide base and the slimmer tower that honestly do end up looking a bit like a blender. All that said, it’s one of my favorite buildings on campus. I’ve had a math or science class there every semester and the Blender echoes my feelings on the subjects- intimidating and stark, but you can find a place there. Although I was nervous the first time I walked in for Calc 1, the feeling soon disappeared as I took more classes there and began to think of it as a place for learning and discovery. The same vertical lines on the tower that draw your eye up, giving the building more height than it has, felt like a testament to the world of math and science, where there’s always more to be discovered or invented. I have favorite benches and know all the water fountains ranked by temperature, and which lecture halls have outlets under the desks. The Blender houses the math and history of science departments, and it’s hard to not draw the parallel that we hope math and science are as resilient as the Blender.

 

The Biz

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The library is clearly set up on OU’s campus to be a focal point. The South Oval funnels both your gaze and your steps towards it, and there’s carefully nothing in front of it to distract you from the ornate Cherokee Gothic stylings– decorative towers, high windows, and little decorations all over the outside. I hate it. It’s everything pretentious and extraneous about higher education in building form. There’s no point to the columns, or the arches, or all the little fiddly details except to prove that they could build them. It’s arrogant and over the top, and only contributes to the perception (and reality) that higher education is only available to some. When I first saw it on campus, I thought it was an eyesore, especially with all that red brick clashing with the off-white. It made me feel even more like I didn’t belong on campus– that the people here wanted to be Ivy League but knew they weren’t and so were overcompensating. I didn’t even step inside for most of my first semester because it seemed so alienating. Since then I’ve found that the stacks are a convenient place to curl up alone, so there is redemption possible for the library, just in the most humble place there. The west side of the library is also a redeeming factor; the columns still look busy, but the lines are clean and emphasize the height. 

 

 

Notre Dame

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I saw Notre Dame when I was 17, in Europe with my mom. We were tired and hungry and the airline had lost our bags, but when we stepped off the Metro and in front of Notre Dame, those feelings dissolved in favor of awe. First, the sheer size- it’s huge, especially when you remember the technology they were working with to build it. No steel reinforced concrete here- it’s made of stone and feels more solid for it. Past the facade, which is intricately decorated with biblical and religious stories and symbols, there’s the main building, which in my opinions looks better than the facade. The flying buttresses that would look over the top on another building fit with this one both because of the religious significance and because the size makes them an engineering necessity, not an ornament.

I’m not religious, but when I walked into the interior, I understood how someone could come to Sunrise Mass there and feel God. It was the first time I realized what religion could mean to someone- people cared so much about their god that they spent 200 years making an engineering marvel that symbolized faith and devotion to so many people. It wasn’t built so magnificently so the architect or a king could take credit– it was built like that to praise God. My visit was a humbling and enlightening experience that I’m glad I had.

St. Francis Catholic Church

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As churches become more modern, it isn’t uncommon for them to look like any other building. I grew up going to church at St. Francis in Oklahoma City, and I like its traditional elements. Even someone who had never seen it before would know it is a church upon first glance because of the tall steeple made of white marble.

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The stained glass windows are another classic element. They cover the walls on both sides of the church, and they tell the story of St. Francis’s life. The marble from the steeple continues inside, where the walls are made of a combination of white and tan marble; the altar is also made of white marble. There are four turquoise pillars that surround the altar, and these complement the turquoise arch at the front of the church that mimics the shape of the stained glass windows. People fill the four long sections of pews, complete with conventional kneelers. Even the hanging lights seem old-fashioned to me.

While I believe that people can have the same spiritual experience regardless of what the church looks like, I enjoyed going to a traditional service in a timeless setting. I have fond memories of coming here every Sunday with my family (probably more fond of getting donuts before Sunday school), and this place will always feel comfortable to me.

The Old Library – Trinity College Dublin

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I studied abroad in Ireland last summer, and the first place we stayed was Trinity College Dublin; one of my favorite places on campus was the Old Library. It is interesting that the windows on the second and third floors are square, but the ones on the bottom floor (with the exception of the three windows on each end of the building) have arches. The ends also protrude slightly, which makes me think they might have been an addition. Aside from this, the building isn’t the most visually interesting on the outside, but one of the things that I like about it is that it looks completely different on the inside.

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This is the Long Room, which is over 200 feet long and originally had a flat roof and only one level of bookshelves. However, the Old Library is a legal deposit library, which means it has the right to a free copy of every book published in Ireland and Britain. As the books outgrew the shelf space, architects reconstructed the ceiling to the current vaulted style in order to fit another level of shelving – the library now holds over 200,000 books. The Old Library is most famous for housing the Book of Kells, which is a very elaborately decorated manuscript of the four Gospels that dates back to the 9th century. The sense of history here is incredible. Marble busts of famous philosophers and writers line the tall oak shelves, and there are many windows that keep the room feeling bright and airy despite the dark wood.

Marina City

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I went to Chicago last summer and saw marina city building which is one of the landmark buildings in Chicago. However, I personally did not like this building.

I expected a lot to go see this building since this building looked so cool through the picture. However, I went there during daytime and it did not look good. It looked like a corn, but eaten corns. The outside look of this building did not seemed clean and neat. Lower levels are in use for parking lot, and it looked terrible outside. This building looked better at night though.

However, I clap my hands for the idea and creativity of this building. Who would think corn could be the motivation for the building? I think the concept of this building is really cool and funny.

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Sarkeys Energy Center

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If I graduate and look back my college life in the future, this Sarkeys Energy Center would be one that I will never exclude from my memory lists. Since my major is Petroleum Engineering, I spend most of my time at this building, and this building has been influenced me a lot.

First, Sarkeys brings Petroleum-field related interest to me and make me to focus more on my studying. There are mineral show-windows along the wall, and it brings geological interest to me. Whenever I study at Sarkeys I meet many of my class fellows and professors who works hard and this make me to push myself in studying. At same time, this gives me a sense of belonging.

Second, Youngblood Energy Library, where I enjoy to study, is in this building. Youngblood Energy Library has big windows that sunshine can enter while most of Sarkeys classrooms do not have windows. In addition, I worked at this library also, so I am used to this place and this makes me feel comfortable.geology