For many years now, people have been fool by appearances. Someone maylook at the exterior of an object and expect one thing when actually the exactopposite is waiting inside for them. For example, an unexpecting person picksoff a grape from the bunch and bites into the fruit while dreaming of a mouthfulof juicy, sweet grape but in reality receives a surprisingly bitter splash withthe first bite. Or when a person first looks at a power vision 3-D picturethey only see mass chaos until a few short seconds later a sailboat evolves outof the picture floating among the earlier seen chaos.
When visiting Madison,Wisconsin, someone may pass by the UW-Fieldhouse and mistake it as a barninstead of a basketball arena. So too, the Karrmann Library can be easilymistaken for a bank as you come upon it from the exterior.
The first feature about the Elton S. Karrmann Library that makes it seemas if it were a bank is the solid construction of the library. Much like theconstruction of a bank, the library was also constructed with security andprotection in mind. Also, the impressive exterior of the library resembles thatof a modern bank. The concrete support pillars not only add strength but alsogive 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 twoengraved 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 towerentrance. This grayish colored concrete was poured in slabs of 3 by 3 ft sections. Concrete was also used as dividers between floors. Between eachfloor, the redish-brown, 4 by 8 in. bricks are split up by a light grayishhorizontal concrete layer. The items used in the construction of this buildingshow the strengthneeded 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 giveaccess 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 atthe mall entrance. Near the entrance of the building is an after hours bookdrop off which resembles a bank’s after hour deposit box. Another similarity toa bank is the parking that is available to the west of the library. The settingof the Karrmann library very closely resembles that of the setting around abank.
Now, the feature of the Karrmann library that most closely resembles itto 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 windowsills are slanted bricks which would make it very difficult for any to succeedin climbing and breaking into one of these windows. Another security measurepertaining to the windows are that they very narrow and would make it next toimpossible for someone to squeeze through them while tryingto hang on andkeep from falling.
These windows on the third and forth floors are also groupedin pairs giving them the look of office windows seen in a bank. Along thefront entrance of the mall side are enormous, 10 by 10 ft. picture windows thatnot only add style to the building, but also serves as a security measure byallowing a plain view to anyone who passes by, including police. The styles ofwindows in the Karrmann Library resemble greatly those found in many modern banks.
The Karrmann Library has many close resemblance’s to that of a modernday banks. These similarities are in the solid construction for protection, thelibrary’s unique setting in the land and the style of windows used throughoutthe building. So, if someone asks you directions to the bank, be sure to pointthem downtown so they don’t get confused and stop at the Karrmann Library tocash a check.