First Impressions May Be Deceiving
For many years now, people have been fool by appearances. Someone may
look at the exterior of an object and expect one thing when actually the exact
opposite is waiting inside for them. For example, an unexpecting person picks
off a grape from the bunch and bites into the fruit while dreaming of a mouthful
of juicy, sweet grape but in reality receives a surprisingly bitter splash with
the first bite. Or when a person first looks at a power vision 3-D picture
they only see mass chaos until a few short seconds later a sailboat evolves out
of the picture floating among the earlier seen chaos. When visiting Madison,
Wisconsin, someone may pass by the UW-Fieldhouse and mistake it as a barn
instead of a basketball arena. So too, the Karrmann Library can be easily
mistaken for a bank as you come upon it from the exterior.
The first feature about the Elton S. Karrmann Library that makes it seem
as if it were a bank is the solid construction of the library. Much like the
construction of a bank, the library was also constructed with security and
protection in mind. Also, the impressive exterior of the library resembles that
of a modern bank. The concrete support pillars not only add strength but also
give the library this impressive look of a bank. These light white-grayish,
square pillars are 2 by 2 ft. and almost half the way up them there are two
engraved lines that run all the way around them about 6 in. from the other.
Concrete, a sign of strength, is also used in the patio around the tower
entrance. This grayish colored concrete was poured in slabs of 3 by 3 ft.
sections. Concrete was also used as dividers between floors. Between each
floor, the redish-brown, 4 by 8 in. bricks are split up by a light grayish
horizontal concrete layer. The items used in the construction of this building
show the strength
needed for the protection of a bank.
Secondly, the setting of the Karrmann Library is unique and creative,
like a modern bank, by placing the first floor of the library into a hill.
Beneath the patio is a loading dock which allows you to enter the basement.
This is similar to that of a bank because they have loading docks which give
access to the vault in the basement. The sidewalks on the mall side come to a
"V" at the roofed entrance. Also, there are benches near a shrubbery garden at
the mall entrance. Near the entrance of the building is an after hours book
drop off which resembles a bank's after hour deposit box. Another similarity to
a bank is the parking that is available to the west of the library. The setting
of the Karrmann library very closely resembles that of the setting around a
Now, the feature of the Karrmann library that most closely resembles it
to a bank is the windows in the library. The 2 by 4 ft. windows on the east,
west and mall sides are indented into the building. The bottoms of the window
sills are slanted bricks which would make it very difficult for any to succeed
in climbing and breaking into one of these windows. Another security measure
pertaining to the windows are that they very narrow and would make it next to
impossible for someone to squeeze through them while trying to hang on and
keep from falling. These windows on the third and forth floors are also grouped
in pairs giving them the look of office windows seen in a bank. Along the
front entrance of the mall side are enormous, 10 by 10 ft. picture windows that
not only add style to the building, but also serves as a security measure by
allowing a plain view to anyone who passes by, including police. The styles of
windows in the Karrmann Library resemble greatly those found in many modern ba
The Karrmann Library has many close resemblance's to that of a modern
day banks. These similarities are in the solid construction for protection, the
library's unique setting in the land and the style of windows used throughout
the building. So, if someone asks you directions to the bank, be sure to point
them downtown so they don't get confused and stop at the Karrmann Library to
cash a check.
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