Architecture Monday

Here’s a nice little chapel that invokes classicism without falling into an overwrought caricature of what classicism was all about.

Like all so-called architectural “styles”, classicism (and neo-classicism) goes well beyond any particular building element or the use of a stylistic vocabulary and ornamentation.  There are design philosophies and ideas of form that transcend these individual skin or building elements.  In this chapel, proportions and the basic tripartite structure of classical thought are brought into the design while also integrating elements from local architecture.

The simple lines and wonderful proportions of the chapel really work together here to create a feeling of both humility and of preciousness.  Subtle bits of ornamentation, such as around the pediment, and of adjustment to the basic form, such as the cutbacks at the corners at the top of the steeple, draws the eyes and keeps the building lively.  And the steeple, with the fins and frames like a trellis for the bell, is playful and speaks to the vernacular architecture of this hot and humid region.  Overall it’s a subtle and balanced composition.

Inside, the pilasters and division of windows continues the classical rhythm.  White walls let the play of light and shadow be the prominent  texture and articulation of the space.   Through fine details it is a room that doesn’t need grand materials to express itself.

Lovely.  A simple, elegant, and overall nicely done building.

Seaside Chapel by Scott Merrill

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