Pebbles In The Pond: News & Musings by Landscape Architect Dick Bell

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NC State University’s Iconic “Brickyard” Celebrated in Alumni Magazine June 25, 2009

Media contact:

Kim Weiss, blueplatepr

919-272-8615; kim@blueplatenc.com

March 31, 2006 (Raleigh, NC) – The facts, figures and fables surrounding University Plaza — better known to North Carolina State University students, faculty and alumni as “the Brickyard” — is the subject of a feature in this spring’s NC State Alumni Magazine entitled, “The Brickyard Revealed.”

The Brickyard at NCSU, conceived of and designed by Dick Bell.

The Brickyard at NCSU, conceived of and designed by Dick Bell.

Completed in 1969, the Brickyard was the brainchild of Raleigh landscape architect Richard C. Bell, FASLA.  Then chancellor John C. Caldwell had retained Bell, a 1950 graduate of the university’s School of Design, to design landscaping for 10 buildings. But Bell had a better idea: He wanted to use the allocated money to build a central campus plaza, compatible with the surrounding buildings, “that would be both a gathering space for students and a way to tie together the assortment of new and planned buildings,” the article says. That concept, combined with Bell’s knowledge of Italian plaza design and thousands of red bricks donated by the N.C. Bricklayers’ Association, resulted in what quickly became a favorite gathering place and a unique visual symbol for the university.

The article, which includes past and present photographs of the red and white plaza, addresses such facts as the number of bricks in the Brickyard (226,200 not counting the brick sidewalks that feed into the plaza), the average number of passes through the yard by an individual undergraduate in four years (1,024), and number of bricks NC State students take home each year as souvenirs (between 100 and 200). It tackles rumors that have swirled around the plaza for decades, such as “a nuclear reactor is under the Brickyard.” That’s pure fiction, the article says: The only nuclear reactor at State is tiny, above ground, and used for research in the nuclear engineering program.

The article shares several memories alumni have around the Brickyard. Now the magazine is looking for more: “What’s the strangest, funniest or most memorable thing that you witnessed or participated in” with regards to the Brickyard? Anyone wishing to share a memory should log on to http://www.almuni.ncsu.edu.

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