Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Beautiful Duke Campus and Garden - by Lily

Taking up the task as chaperons for a group of kids back from Duke summer camp gave us an opportunity to visit Duke University.

Off the highway the winding road led us deep into the woods. A few more turns later the trees opened up a bit and we entered the west campus of the school. Duke is famous for its athletic programs. Of course even the tennis court is huge that we mistakenly thought as football stadium.

But what really caught my attention is its Collegiate Gothic architectural style.  From the early design in residential quadrangles to the newer buildings in academic quadrangles, all show a unique theme and consistent style. The stones used for West Campus have seven primary colors and seventeen shades of color, with some colors showing "an older, more attractive antique effect" and others a "warmer and softer coloring for an "artistic look”. The center of the west campus is Duke Chapel, which was built on the highest ridge on campus. It is an ecumenical Christian chapel built in the Collegiate Gothic style, characterized by its large stones, pointed arches, and ribbed vaults. The Chapel stands 210 feet (64 m) tall and seats about 1,800 people. Inside the chapel, the stained glass windows cast a grandiose and beautiful glow on the interior.

Walking out of the chapel, we found our way to Sarah Duke Garden. Despite having heard about its beauty, we were still taken away by its vastness, variety, and elegance. The garden consists about 55 acres of landscaped and wooded areas and is divided into 4 areas, Historic gardens, Asiatic arboretum, garden of Native plants, and Doris Duke center gardens. Following the shaded path, we saw flowers of many colors and shapes, lush bamboo, carnivorous plants, and birds and butterflies chirping and dancing. At the northwest side there’s a fish pond. Swans and ducks were paddling around. At the end of the pond a red bridge peeked out of the lush green showing off its lovely bright color. This is truly a fairy land inside the castle. It felt even better than our own Dallas Arboretum! 

I have always thought my Alma mater, Caltech, has the most beautiful campus. Duke can be the close 2nd :)

A big bird house

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