Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

ASU Gammage, Part 3

The tour begins at the box office. Notice the grillwork above the ticket seller windows. My guide (I was lucky to be the only one on the tour) told me that it is the only major item that is not original although it is in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright. It was added for security. Shortly after its installation, a robber tried to get through it to grab the cash but was thwarted by the grillwork and hustled off to jail.

At the very beginning of the tour is a bronze bust of Grady Gammage (as you may recall he was the President of ASU who started the initiative to realize a fine auditorium for the Tempe campus).

Not far was the bust of Frank Lloyd Wright himself. It reminded me of a bust at Taliesin West and my guide mentioned it was a match of one on display there (click here). The finish is different between the two but to my eye the casting mold seems to have been the same.

These are the steps leading into the auditorium from the main level lobby. One of the interesting tidbits offered by my guide relates to the carpeting. Originally, the carpets were a uniform color without a pattern in roughly the same shades as shown here. However, when it came time to replace the worn carpets, OSHA complained that the uniform color was a safety hazard because people have difficulty judging the distance from eye to floor. So replacement carpets now have a pattern —except for the small strip on the bottom of the wall which is closer in appearance to the original.

Looking to the left one can see the layout of the circular lobby which now has stations for selling drinks and snacks to patrons during intermission.

These monoliths exhibit photos of financial supporters of ASU Gammage. Interesting, as I looked at them, my guide pointed to one photo that I recognized — Luis Emilio Gonzalez, nicknamed "Gonzo", who entered the pantheon of Arizona sports heroes with his bloop single to win the 2001 World Series against the dreaded New York Yankees.

Just for the tour, this poster was on display showing Wright's sketch for the Baghdad Opera House (bottom) as well as an early sketch for the ASU Gammage auditorium (top). Note that both sketches contained additional elements from Wright's fertile mind but which were never built.

One of the design elements that is ubiquitous at ASU Gammage is the circle. Circular floor plan, circular lights, circular ventilation grills, ...

...even circular drinking fountains [note that it has an splash shield added later to protect the walls], ...

... circular exterior door handles, ...

... circular interior door handles — they're everywhere.

Also enhancing the lobby walls are works of art. My tour guide mentioned that they have competitions each year with art on display and available for purchase at performances.

Abstract art graces another wall and almost makes it look like a camera malfunction. Interesting.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com