Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.
– Frank Gehry
Beautiful architecture is as much a work of art as it is a feat of engineering. One such building is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Conceived as early as 1846, the first stone was laid in 1920 and it was finished in 1959. The inside of the building is continually a work in progress.
We require from buildings two kinds of goodness: first the doing their practical duty well: then that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it.
Designed to rival the great cathedrals of the Old World, the Basilica is as beautiful as it is majestic, inside and out. The exterior of the building is Romanesque in style, massive in size, with arches, piers, vaults and towers, emphasizing symmetry.
The interior is Byzantine style, where a dome sits over a square structure. The Basilica is constructed entirely of stone, brick, tile and mortar. There isn’t a single piece of steel framework to be found.
We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.
What do you think? Are the people who live and work in buildings shaped by them? Psychologists say yes to that question. The design and color of a space can affect your mood.
Walking into the Basilica left me in awe and made me feel humbled. Walking into a big box store makes me anxious and overwhelmed. Both buildings are large, but the ambiance of the church creates a peaceful feeling, and the big box store evokes an inner disquiet (for me). Have you noticed your mood change when you enter a room or a building?
I call architecture frozen music.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Envisioning the whole building before the first stone was laid must have had everyone involved vibrating with anticipation. I imagine the many craftsmen creating their special piece, a part of the whole. When the last stone was laid, the harmony of all the elements came together like a musical composition; each workman a part of the symphony.
Architecturally, the Basilica offers endless beautiful structural details, plus stained glass windows, sculptures, paintings, woodwork and artwork that could keep you occupied for days.
These are a few photos I took “looking up” for Bastet’s Pixelventures.
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