Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Birthday

Today is the 200th birthday of one of my favorite historical figures. Known for his strong defense of Gothic as the height of Christian Architectural expression, A. W. N. Pugin was a Victorian era Catholic who with the help of his Patron designed and built numerous Catholic churches and other Gothic buildings in England and the Colonies (if I'm not mistaken...)

Anyway, not only is Pugin mentioned in my sidebar, he also was part of the design team for the building that is at the top of this blog. I've been there in person. It is impressive to say the least.

Pugin is one of the reasons I love Gothic architecture so much. Before I studied him, I had some sort of innate sense that Gothic was Awesome-beyond-belief. After I studied him, I discovered a reason for it. Of course, it wasn't only Pugin, but Viollet-le-Duc, SugĂ©r, and Ruskin (I think it was Ruskin.) Viollet-lu-Duc confirmed the structural brilliance of the style, Suger discussed the theological basis, Ruskin talks of the connection to primal architecture and nature. Or perhaps he was the one that discussed the hand-crafts one of which is stone-carving which was used in the Gothic style. I'll have to revisit Ruskin.

And Pugin showed me how not only is Gothic a very Christian architecture in its inception and in its history (although some of the forms have origins in the East...kind of like Christianity), but also how it has such an important symbolic value because within it is the freedom to represent myriad symbols in stone, glass and geometry.

I could go on about Gothic architecture, but I won't. Instead, I'll point you to a blog-post about a new book about Pugin and Gothic Revival architecture.

Happy Birthday Pugin, and thanks for everything.

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