Finding Bryant-Denny: The Inspirations for the New South End Zone Expansion
When Alabama takes the field in 2010, they will do so to the roar of 101,000 screaming Tide fans, a number which will push past the century mark courtesy of the under-construction expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama fans looking at renderings of the ongoing expansion may notice that the South Façade looks familiar. In this slideshow, we will examine some of the buildings on campus that likely inspired the architects as they designed the latest addition to the Crimson Cathedral.
The North Façade
The most obvious influence for fans would be the North Façade of Bryant-Denny Stadium. Few Bama fans that have made the trip to T-Town would have missed the popular new addition to the stadium.
The new South Façade would have to fit the style of the existing façade, and the colors are the most striking similarity, continuing the red brick and white stone motif (mimicking another University landmark—more on that later).
However, notice also that the South Façade uses many of the same vertical and horizontal lines, although with a more classical look.
There is no more famous landmark on the campus of the University of Alabama than Denny Chimes, which tolls the hours from a central location on The Quad for students rushing to class.
The influence on the South Façade is obvious. First, the red brick and white stone color motif, also used on both the north and east façades, is taken directly from the Chimes.
The South Façade more clearly evokes Denny Chimes, however, as the stairwells are virtual replicas. Interestingly, though, the architects chose to forgo the famous stepped roof of the chimes.
The “roof” of the new South Façade strongly evokes a similar feature from the main library on the campus of the University, Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library.
Anchoring The Quad, the entrance to the Gorgas library is likely familiar to almost any fan who has attended a game at the University.
The arches beneath the columns are also similar to the Gorgas library’s windows, although they also evoke similar features from another library on campus.
Bruno Business Library
The Angelo Bruno Business Library and Sloan Y. Bashinsky Computer Center is located on Stadium Drive. This photo shows the east entrance, which is the entrance nearest to The Quad, and may not be as familiar to fans.
The South Façade strongly evokes the east entrance to the Bruno Business Library. In particular, the arches beneath the columns seem to evoke Bruno’s arched first-floor features.
However, notice that Bruno’s triangular pediment (gabled roof) feature, which evokes a feature of the famous Roman Pantheon, is absent from the South Façade. The “roof” of the South Façade is much more like another famous library on campus, the Gorgas library.
Carmichael Hall is located on the west side of The Quad, and would be familiar to many fans.
The parallel stairs leading up to the entrance to the new South Façade somewhat resemble the stairs of Carmichael Hall, although the stairs of the South Façade will be less ornate.
Home of the University of Alabama’s basketball and gymnastic teams, Coleman Coliseum’s parking lot hosts many Tide football fans tailgating on game day.
The columns fronting large glass windows of the South Façade evokes similar features from Coleman Coliseum.
Reese Phifer Hall
Home to the College of Communication & Information Sciences, Reese Phifer Hall sits directly next to the North End Zone of Bryant Denny stadium, and would be a familiar sight for Tide fans.
Reese Phifer Hall may be the source for a subtle feature of the South Façade. The South Façade’s columns are Doric columns, meaning they are plain round columns with simple capitals (tops), whereas most buildings on campus have more ornate Ionic columns.
The South Façade seems to borrow its Doric columns from Reese Phifer Hall.
All in all the South End Zone takes a more classical approach than the previous expansion to Bryant-Denny Stadium. This could have been a deliberate decision by the architects, to reflect the generally more quiet, solemn atmosphere of its surroundings.
Unlike the North End Zone, which faces fraternity houses and deposits fans near the hustle and bustle of the bars and shops of The Strip, the South End Zone faces one of the oldest cemeteries in the city, and is near a classically-styled church.
Regardless of its inspiration, the South End Zone will likely quickly take its place in University of Alabama lore, becoming a favored entrance into the Crimson Cathedral.