I don’t know why writing about Sirrine Hall has been the most difficult of all my “building fascination” posts. Yes, I’ve been busy writing other things and annoyed that I’ve put it off for so long. But when I stop and peruse the pictures, I realize what the actual problem is. I have trouble comprehending this building, both with my eyes, my brain, and my camera. What is up with that?
Well, stay with me here, I’ll try and explain. Though it was built in the 1930’s, I don’t know much about Sirrine’s history, except that it’s the home to textile management and the College of Business. So, all the accounting, economics, and marketing majors. Sound boring to you? Yeah, me too. Also, I’ve read that it has 4.1 acres of space, which must mean the footprint of the building is about an acre, multiplied by four floors. If not, that building is a bigger optical illusion than I thought.
The first time I was there, I was wondering around campus, and happened to stop and look at the colorful brick, and get a look at the inner courtyard as a whole. But I really didn’t stop for long, and the sun was so bright that it’s difficult to SEE the walls of the building itself. Looking back at the pictures, I was frustrated that they don’t really give you a feel for the size of the place. Mostly because I can’t fit the entire building into one shot.
You have to get each side of the courtyard in one picture, and even then, you step back so far that it ends of looking small in the photos. It was like I wanted to “get” this building, and it was preventing me.
So, several weeks later, when I was wondering under the popcorn trees at Hunter Hall, I meandered up to Sirrine, hoping that the morning light would be more conducive to picture taking. Also, since I was more in the photo taking mode, and the students were hiding in their classes, I wandered all over the courtyard, trying to get a feel for the building, as a whole.
But then, I was struck by the trees in the courtyard, firstly, instead of the courtyard itself. I don’t know what kind of tree they are, but what disease was causing their bark to look that way? I almost felt sorry for them. I’ve never felt pity for a tree before, but whatever’s up with their bark doesn’t look comfortable at all.
The morning light was a little less distracting, as I gazed up the walls at each of the large entrances. Still, the reflections coming off the windows sends a lot of light back at you. When standing by each entrance, I wasn’t really aware of the size of the building anymore, but just in awe of the colors of the brick and the stateliness of the stonework over each arched entrance.
It was only when I turned around to look at the paths of the courtyard that I really got mixed up. My eyes were playing tricks on me, with those paths. Look for yourself. Feel like you’re looking into a funhouse mirror? The center path turns into an arrow, pointing at you, and the other two branch away like a mirror image. Even the cars and lampposts at the other end distract you into thinking you’re seeing a mirror image.
Going over to another entryway gave the same feeling, so I’m intrigued by the design of that walkway, almost more than that of the building. Of course, the design of both go hand in hand. And in the end, I find that I still don’t “get” Sirrine, nor can my head seem to comprehend the size of it. The wings of the building distract you into thinking it’s smaller than it is, and then the pattern of the sidewalk itself dizzies you.
I think I’ll have to go back, another time, just to look, but not to take pictures. Because I can’t get my camera to take in what my eyes can’t even handle. Maybe one day, I’ll get to view the courtyard from the inside of one of the upper floors. Maybe that’ll help.