architecture

Revenge of the Neo-Jacobins

Some mock America’s statue-smashers as ignoramuses who do not know what they are doing or why. But there are very good reasons why we see monuments cast down all over the West, including the United States. Let’s not wave this off as mindless stupidity. The radical rule is that the more you destroy, the more [...]

Making the Public Square Beautiful Again

The White House recently released a draft of a proposed executive order, titled Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again. This unexpected proposal sounded a clarion call to restore “classical and traditional architecture styles” in the future construction of Federal Government buildings in the capital and throughout the nation’s heartland, and discourage the post-1950s Corbusian trends of [...]

Democracy’s Private Places

For centuries the public square and the street have been the spatial media of public culture. But just how important is traditional public space—urban space—to a genuinely public culture? In an age of increasingly sophisticated electronic communications, does civil society require the physical and spatial arrangements of the traditional city? I don’t know the answers [...]

Einstein, Imagination and the New Translation

I’m always wary of using an Albert Einstein quotation because it seems somehow sort of well, sophomoric. There’s always that poster of the German genius with the googly eyes and goofy hair sticking out his tongue. Nevertheless, Einstein came up with some good ones about God not playing dice, and science being lame without religion [...]

Of Tepees and Tabernacles

We are building a new church in our parish, and to lead the effort I have been thinking and reading about church architecture. Looking around at the dismal buildings that have been presented as Catholic churches over the last 50 years, one has to ask where on earth the architects, designers, and liturgists got their [...]

The physics of hell

The author of a new book on Galileo claims that the scientist's greatest contribution to theoretical physics came about, ironically enough, from thinking about the dimensions of Dante's hell: In 1588, when Galileo was a 24-year-old unknown, a medical school dropout, he was invited to deliver a couple of lectures on Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Many [...]

They don’t build ’em like they used to… or do they?

The Anchoress's recent trip to Rome reminded her of how breathtakingly beautiful churches can be... and how churches in the States mostly aren't. Visiting Rome's splendid, often ancient, churches, my husband and I, who attend newish, barely-decorated, kind-of-ugly churches that are heavy on the felt banners, had not realized how much we’d been missing beauty [...]

Avery Cardinal Dulles (1918-2008)

  Mies van der Rohe's dictum that "God is in the details" fit the moral architecture of Avery Dulles. While his physical architecture was likened to Lincoln, the man was discerned in the details: from his conversion to the Faith when noticing the first spring blossom on a tree, to his intimate regard for all [...]

Harmonizing Athens and Jerusalem

I have just been re-reading an old book. Not old in the sense of its being 18th century -- it is Dacre Balsdon's Oxford Life, which came out in the early 1950s. One does not have to have been a scholar or a commoner at one of the colleges in Oxford in order to find [...]

The Supremacy of Classical Music

Over the past few days, three of our writers have offered lighter reflections on why they prefer a given genre of music -- Rock, Showtunes, and Classical. We conclude with Classical Music. ♦ ♦ ♦ Classical music is the greatest music. This assertion is not based upon my preference or opinion; it is as much [...]

Mass in the Gym

On the wall behind the altar, where I am accustomed to finding a crucifix on which to focus, hangs an enormous clock, reminiscent of ones I remember from elementary school classrooms years ago. It hums as it tirelessly ticks its way through the Mass. When we stand for the Gospel, metal folding chairs scrape against [...]

What About the Dragons Now?

A topic arose recently in a group discussion relating to the vexed matter of “intelligent design.” My impression is that, in its broadest outlines, the question at stake asks whether science, at the end of the day, is obliged to acknowledge a Designer at the root of things, and that, at least as matters stand [...]

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