Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Serpentine Wall at UVa, 1952

The Serpentine Walls, only one brick thick, are one of my favorite architectural features at UVa. There have been many postcards made of these distinctive walls over the years, and for some reason I'm particularly fond of this one, from 1952. (Can you imagine today's UVa students wearing coats and ties to class every day??)

Interestingly, the image of the Serpentine Wall has been appropriated by groups as diverse as the Darden Private Equity Network ("Jefferson realized that by building a wall that curves, one uses 25% fewer bricks as compared to a straight wall. The curved wall can support itself while being only one brick thick instead of two. Jefferson's ingenuity and his prudent, economical and careful use of resources correlate with the skills needed to become a successful investor in the world of private equity") and the Serpentine Society, UVa's LGBT alumni association ("Serpentine walls are not straight, and neither are we"); the wall was also recently cited by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as an analogy for the tortuous line between church and state in this country. This is clearly one multi-talented, sinusoidal, crinkle-crankle stack of bricks!


Anonymous said...

When I dated at The University from another school in the *early '70s, the guys were transitioning from [coats &] ties to the less formal dress - jeans, flannel shirts & t-shirts, dock/top siders or moccasins. I saw guys occasionally wearing a tie over a white tee shirt (w/ jeans of course).

Well, they were adhering to the rules - they had on a tie!! Such rebels ;>) Remembering it chuckling!
*FYI: Women had just started being accepted there, too.

Anonymous said...

LOVE this postcard. Where can I get a copy?!?