Monday, June 28, 2010

Mosaics at Powell Library

If mosaic is defined as pictures or designs made by setting small colored pieces of stone, glass, or tile onto a surface, then these pillars at the Powell Library of UCLA certainly qualify as mosaics. In fact, there are so many of these ornamentally tiled features--columns, alcoves, niches, steps--in the library, it's downright distracting. Who could study?

Powell Library is one of the original two buildings erected at the Westwood Campus in 1929 (the other being Royce Hall). Architects George W. Kelham and David Allison drew on Italian churches for their inspriation in designing the library. This UCLA document claims that both Powell and Royce follow the Lombardian type of Italian Romanesque architecture, with bits of Byzantium thrown into the mix. Moorish elements were added to reflect California's Spanish culture (to me, that seems an odd bow to Spanish culture--including Moorish elements).

This second picture is from UCLA's website. Really shows off the overall effect, but my picture (the first) gives more of the details. The pillars are octagonal, and apparently tiny heads of bruins top them. In fact, reading the document makes me realize that I missed the boat entirely when I dashed into the library to take a picture. There is a picture mosaic there, on the first floor landing, that I didn't even see, let alone photograph.

Oh, well. Lots of Mondays in the coming years...

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