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Edifice complex: continuing the meme...

HealyHallYou can have a discussion on liturgy at Fordham today, and one on religious freedom at Boston College on Wednesday. (Oh, and bourbon at Commonweal any time, morning or night.)Completing the Jesuit trifecta, and filling out your week, please come to Georgetown on Tuesday evening, if you are in Washington, for a discussion of religion and politics (something no one here discusses much, I'm told).Hosted by the Woodstock Center, the panel, "Election 2012: The Values Behind the Issues," will have a bunch of smart people, and me:Father Tom Reese convenes the program, Commonweal (and WaPo) columnist E.J. Dionne will moderate. Amy Sullivan of the Nation and Time and Tom Roberts of the National Catholic Reporter will opine, and I will pontificate. There will be a Catholic focus, no doubt, but we will strive to cover the waterfront, from Mormons to Evangelicals. Disclosure: okay, the 7:30-9pm event will actually be around the corner at the Catharine E. Nolan Center of Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School. But there's free parking.(Oh, and checking on availability of bourbon.)

About the Author

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (HarperOne) and The Rule of Benedict (HarperOne). He blogs at dotCommonweal.



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This is the entrance to Hell. Are those yellow areas paint or gilt? Maybe it's those two/three Romanesque arches thrown in for added variety that makes it so awful. They should have named the building St. Doodad's.Have fun at your discussion.

Will Ms. Fluke be there? And the Law faculty?Should make for a rousing evening - you'll need the bourbon.

Three more reasons I miss living in the 'corridor'. As for bourbon: else?

David Gibson,When are you getting in? Is there time for a quick hello?Ann,There is no gilt on that building. The yellow areas are cement. You need to see the whole building to appreciate that entrance.

Alan --Yellow cement? AARRGH!!!The Jesuits have a lot to learn from the Benedictines.

I think the architectural style is what we politely call "eclectic."

Any tapings for the internet?

Hey, don't make fun of Gothic Revival. Some day soon, the monstrosities we admire as masterpieces of modern architecture will likely be seen in the same light. You've got to admit that these old buildings are impressive. They seem ghoulish to us, but something made them seem terribly attractive then. This is a good reminder that our tastes, preferences, certainties may very well look pretty silly five or six generations from now.

David --I don't make fun of Gothic architecture -- except this monstrosity, and it's a hybrid (to put it politely). It seems to be difficult to make bad Gothic, but this committee (surely it was a committee?) managed.I don't defend most modern stuff. Designing an ultra-simple building requires an outstanding sense of proportion, but even architects with that sense are rare.

For Ann and David, our amateur architectural historians, Healy Hall is not an example of Gothic Revival, but is rather Flemish Romanesque. It was designed by John L. Smithmeyer and Paul Pelz, the two architects who designed the Library of Congress, rather than by a committee.

Alan,They sure fooled me :-) Actually, I've seen the whole building, and I don't remember it being ugly. But that entrance as picture? Ugh. :-(

Alan, I see that the wikipedia article on Healy Hall at least one web page it Flemish Romanesque, but a quick google turned up no discussion of that school. ("Flemish Romanesque" in the wikipedia article is linked to the "Romanesque-architecture" page, but if you search there for "Flemish" you'll find nothing.) Are you sure Flemish Romanesque exists outside Georgetown? Perhaps Smithmeyer and Pelz made up the name specially for that building. Could we call it Victorian Ghastly?

Looks like fun!

David Smith,I am not even an amateur architectural historian so I have no idea of Flemish Romanesque is real. I have found a number of examples through Google (it appears to be popular in Canada), but I do not know how to embed the pictures. Healy Hall is often compared to the Parliament building of Ottowa, with which it shares some architectural features. I think the important thing is that it is a Romanesque building rather than a Gothic one. Copley Hall, which stand next to Healy is a Gothic Revival building and it is markedly different in style.

When in doubt about a style, call it transitional. And based upon the work of the talented sculptor-painter-architect Anonymo.

Hmm. I don't know whether one can embed photos here, Alan. Testing 1. Patrick, good solution. Flemish-Romanesque, also known as Nineteenth-century Victorian transitional, or Jesuit Imaginary.

ISTM that words like "Romanesque" and "Gothic" both are so ambiguous there is no use trying to define them, but both do have two pairs of contrasting characteristics: "Romanesque arches" are rounded while "Gothic arches" are pointed, and Romanesque buildings sit squarely on the ground while Gothic ones leap towards Heaven. Poor St. Doodad's tries to do both at the same time. It sits squat on the ground while those tiny little triangles pasted all over look up to Heaven, like a chorus of the damned. Sad.

Maybe the rather grotesque entrance is a fitting reminder of the movie "The Exorcist," also a Georgetown classic of extreme proportions.Since seeing it I absolutely refuse to eat split pea soup in any form.

We needed Claire there to rake(copious) notes. Forgey about the arcvhitecture since we've got miminal expertise here.

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