Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gainesville Gargoyles

I worked in the Chemistry Department for over four years when I attended the University of Florida, in the middle of what is now known as the University of Florida Historic District. I'm not sure if it was a historic district then, and sadly if it was I never noticed. I visited the district recently driven by quest for all things Ponce de Leon related, after seeing a photo of a frieze with Florida's European discoverer at the Matheson Museum.

Spanish Discovery of Florida Freize - Sledd Hall

While I really looked closely at the Gothic architecture for the first time, I was really blown away by the carved details on the buildings. How I walked by these every day and was oblivious, is a mystery to me, but I think the truth is as I've gotten older, I've grown more interested in architecture and the environment around me. I like to think I notice more. So for me it was a fresh discovery and I had a wonderful time documenting just a portion of the carvings in this one section of campus.

Bay Window of the Reading Room- Fletcher Hall

Carving from Bay Window of the Reading Room- Fletcher Hall

Detail of Gator from the Reading Room Bay Window - Fletcher Hall

I'm not sure what this supposed to be - a crab maybe?

Reading Student - Sledd Hall

Chemistry Student- Sledd Hall

Fraternity Member giving the thumbs down- Sledd Hall

Football Player- Sledd Hall

Sledd Hall seemed to have the largest amount of intricate carving and by far the most ornate was the Mucozo Tower. The UF website describes it this way:

"Sledd Hall, designed by University Architect Rudolph Weaver, was built in 1929 and links to Fletcher and Thomas Halls. Sculptural figures along the cornice depict the all male student population of the period engaged in a variety of activities. Plaques with seals of great universities of the world suggested the University's goals for academic achievement. Courtyard entrances to the individual suites are enhanced with figures representing creatures from the sea and the local region. A sculptural frieze depicts the Spanish discovery of Florida and reflects the Spanish heritage of the state. Another sculptural relief depicts students with architectural tools and sporting equipment. An outstanding feature of the building was the Mucozo Tower South entrance to the dormitory courtyard. The sculptural features recognize the friendship of Chief Mucozo and Spanish explorer Juan Ortiz. The tower also included a trunk depository, where students' luggage was loaded on a dumb waiter to the storage level below. Sledd Hall was named for the first UF president, Dr. Andrew Sledd."

A couple more:

Corbel at the University Auditorium

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