Friday, December 29, 2006

Architecture of Conviction

When I lately stood with a friend before [the cathedral of] Amiens, . . . he asked me how it happens that we can no longer build such piles? I replied: "Dear Alphonse, men in those days had convictions (Ueberzeugungen), we moderns have opinions (Meinungen) and it requires something more than an opinion to build a Gothic cathedral.
- Heinrich Heine,
Confidential Letters to August Lewald on the French Stage
(letter 9), translated by C.G. Leland

Habitat for Humanity homes designed to match historic district styles

Habitat for Humanity and classical architects eye historic
districts to build traditionally-styled, affordable homes

Hopefully they'll look something like the Katrina Cottage

What a fun partnership for The Institute of Classical Architecture

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


The Starlight Night

Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies!
O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!
The bright boroughs, the circle-citadels there!
Down in dim woods the diamond delves! the elves'-eyes!
The grey lawns cold where gold, where quickgold lies!
Wind-beat whitebeam! airy abeles set on a flare!
Flake-doves sent floating forth at a farmyard scare! --
Ah well! it is all a purchase, all is a prize.

Buy then! bid then! -- What? -- Prayer, patience, alms, vows.
Look, look: a May-mess, like on orchard boughs!
Look! March-bloom, like on mealed-with-yellow sallows!
These are indeed the barn; withindoors house
The shocks. This piece-bright paling shuts the spouse
Christ home, Christ and his mother and all his hallows.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Happy Feast of St. Nicholas

“Christ in Christmas is rooted in every child’s memories of an astonishing intervention of love in their life, found, of all places, in their stockings.”

Fr. Nicholas Ayo, on his latest book

It may be difficult to discern in the heroic and daunting figure of the fourth century Bishop of Myra, the “jolly old elf” of Clement Clarke Moore’s endearing and sentimental “Twas the Night Before Christmas” poem. The saint whose feast the Catholic Church celebrates on Dec. 6 may well have been such a pleasantly avuncular gentleman, but he is also remembered as a powerful leader who rescued many young women from sexual slavery, intimidated vengeful emperors, came between the executioner’s axe and the neck of a condemned prisoner, plucked despairing seafarers from perfect storms, and overwhelmed a threatened famine with a miraculous abundance of grain.

Writing of these older and more stirring accounts of his patron saint, Father Ayo remarks that “it does not take much imagination to wonder if the Santa Claus, who descends upon our roof, or the comic book superman, who swoops down upon our city, owe some of their inspiration and the cut of their figure to the original aerial wonder-worker, good Saint Nicholas.”

Computer generated reconstruction of the face of St. Nicholas from Discovery Channel