Friday, August 21, 2015

UNC campus pretty, striking ... perplexing

When I visited North Carolina last year, I had an ambitious mental photography "wish list" -- to photograph the campuses of the University of North Carolina, Duke University and Wake Forest University. I was able to cross one of those off the list -- Wake Forest.

I thought that I might be able to knock off the two others this year because I'd be spending a lot of time in nearby Cary. I'm glad to say that I succeeded in getting to UNC, but Duke -- and perhaps even North Carolina State (in the nearby state capital, Raleigh) -- will waiting for another time.

I became particularly intrigued with UNC in the months after my 2014 visit to North Carolina because of an article at that I'd read early this year that listed it as the No. 1 "most beautiful" college or university campus in the United States. There were 21 schools included on the list; two other North Carolina schools also made the cut -- Duke, 15th, and North Carolina-Asheville, 19th. Two Indiana schools also made the list -- the University of Notre Dame (3rd) and Indiana University (5th).

I do think UNC's campus is pretty; there is an interesting array of architecture, a good amount of green malls and plazas, and some pretty striking features about it. But I'm not sure I'd assess it as highly as the article did. Some things I liked was the aforementioned architecture variety, and three spots on the north end of campus -- Coker Arboretum, the iconic Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower, and Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, a graveyard and national historic district.

One huge thing that perplexed me, however, was that the Dean E. Smith Center (see photo leading off this post) -- the main playing facility for the men and women's basketball teams -- seems isolated on the campus It's located on the extreme southeast end, and except for a few nearby resident halls, is far removed from academic buildings and the majority of athletic facilities, including its track and football stadiums. In fact, on the day I went to the Smith Center, there was so much construction going on around it, and several main accesses to it closed, that I could reach it only by foot. A minor mitigating feature is that the Carolina Basketball Museum is located in the Ernie Williamson Athletic Center next door to the Smith Center. It was just my bad luck that I was there on a Sunday, when both facilities were closed.

For a look at the full shoot at UNC, visit my gallery at SmugMug.

Above: One of the first pictures I took after getting out of my car on the north end of campus. A very shady thoroughfare, near a cluster of residence halls. 

Above and next five below: Inside Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, including a shot of the Rebecca Clark Memorial Gazebo.

Above and below: Fetzer Field/Belk Track, where at one end are situated the track athlete institutional art below.

An admissions gate (above) to Kenan Memorial Stadium (next three below). 

Above: An unusual feature near the north end of the stadium -- a wooded area and walkway.

The Morehead-Patterson bell tower (above) in a park across from Wilson library (below).   

Above: The front side of the library, fronting Polk Place mall. 

Above: The library seen from across the mall.  

Above: Another building in the mall. 

Above: Memorial Hall, one of the venues for Carolina Performing Arts. 

Above and below: Trees and green in McCorkle Place, another green mall. 

Above and below: At the south end of McCorkle Place, directly opposite the South Building (home of the Arts and Sciences), is the Old Well, which dates to 1897 and was modeled after the Temple of Love in the Gardens of Versailles. Many visitors stop here to have pictures taken. The view of the well below is a popular one; I haven't seen many of the perspective show above.

Above: Davie Hall, home of UNC's Pyschology Department. It is adjacent to Coke Arboretum. 

Above and next two below: Images from Coke Arboretum.

Above: View from a hill overlooking a cluster of residence halls near Dean E. Smith Center. 

Above: These stairs to Dean E. Smith Center seem intimidating.

Above: Another view of the Smith Center.

Above: Landscaping near the north side of the Smith Center.

Above and below: The Ernie Williamson Athletic Center and Carolina Basketball Museum.


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