An enchanting presentation about Florestal, his grandparent’s multi-fabled estate in Santa Barbara, designed by George Washington Smith in 1925, led to Marc Appleton’s invitation to become a national ICA&CA board member. Shortly thereafter, the Southern California Chapter was founded in 2004 by Marc and David Cohen with support from Suzanne Rheinstein.
With an English literature degree from Harvard and an Architecture degree from Yale, Marc apprenticed with architectural firms in San Diego and Los Angeles before starting his own practice in 1976. Much of Marc’s early training and work was based on modern and postmodern trends, but he was drawn to the classic forms in architectural history and desired to do new traditional work; a rarity at that time as most architects sought contemporary directions. He also welcomed remodeling and restoration projects, where the subtle challenges of being respectful to original building contexts were attractive.
Here he speaks to Bret Parsons about the ICA&CA, its Southern California Chapter, academic mentors, his proposal for The Nixon Memorial Library, the relationship between residential architecture and psychotherapy, and other engaging opinions.
by Calder Loth
Senior Architectural Historian for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and a member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America‘s Advisory Council
The patera is among the most ubiquitous of all Classical details, yet few people know the story behind it. The word “patera” is Latin for a shallow dish or pan. It derives from the Greek word patane, which also means a flattened dish. From it, we get the word paten, the small bread plate used in the Christian service of the Eucharist. More specifically, patera is the term for the shallow offering dish that figured in the ancient ceremonies of sacrifice. The typical sacrifice included a ritual of libation, which consisted of pouring wine or other sacred liquid into the patera as an offering to a god.
In Antoine Desgodetz’s engraving of the famous frieze of the temple of Vespasian and Titus, we see the various articles employed in Roman sacrifice ceremonies. (Figure 1) To the right is the priest’s headdress. Next is the aspergillum, the wand that the priest used to sprinkle wine or water on the head of the sacrificial ox (or other animals—different gods required different animals). This sprinkling caused the ox to nod spontaneously, giving the signal that it was ready for sacrifice. The ax was used to kill the ox, and the knife was employed to cut it up. The horsetail whisk was needed to brush away flies swarming on the resulting gore. From the flagon or pitcher, the priest poured the ceremonial wine into the circular dish or patera, which in this case is richly decorated, more resembling a shield. Frequently, the wine was then emptied from the patera onto the ground as an offering to the earth. Following its dismemberment, the ox’s entrails were examined for omens and then burned. The rest of the ox was usually roasted and eaten by the assembled crowd. Retaining the decorations of festoons and tassels, the ox’s skull, also known as a bucrane, frequently was hung on the temple following the ceremony.
By Paul Gunther, President, Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America
The artisan winners of the 2005 Arthur Ross Award for Excellence in the Classical Tradition were the peerless stone carvers of the John Stevens Shop of Newport, Rhode Island, where John Everett Benson and his son and current proprietor, Nick have maintained and extended a standard of American craft excellence in place for more than 300 years. The Institute was grateful to so recognize as such an example helps stimulate and realize contemporary design aspiration as it also allows continuity of skill handed through generations.
Nick Benson is a masterful stone carver who learned the great tradition of Roman stone carving and architectural lettering from his father and his grandfather. The Benson designs and exquisite hand—carved stone inscriptions grace many of America’s leading landmarks—The National Gallery of Art, The Boston Public Library, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial—and revered national memorials to Presidents John F. Kennedy at Arlington and Franklin D. Roosevelt in Washington. Nick has continued this noble enterprise from the historic John Stevens Workshop, founded by the Yorkshire stone carver who came to America in the eighteenth century.
Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. with hand carved names.
John F. Kennedy grave site.
With all this in mind, the ICA&CA community is especially thrilled with news that Nick Benson has been named one of the 2010 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellows. It is intoxicating that Nick’s “genius” of classical accomplishment has found its due place at the edge of future promise and modern application.
Tools and inspiration at the John Stevens Shop in Newport, Rhode Island.
Congratulations to Fort Worth home builder and master-craftsman Brent Hull and Christine G. H. Franck, New York-based designer and Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America board member. They are the recent recipients of the 2010 Historic Fort Worth Residential Award, which recognizes excellence in the rehabilitation of historic homes.
Byrd Residence "Before"
The Brent Hull Companies collaborated with Christine G. H. Franck, Inc. to restore the Byrd Residence to its original charm. Built in 1938 in Fort Worth’s Colonial Addition neighborhood, the Colonial Revival style home suffered from an insensitive 1990s renovation. Additions of incorrectly proportioned columns, heavy-cast stone trim, and stripping of the original whitewashing and shutters all compromised the home’s original grace. In 2009 the extensive renovation and addition by Mr. Hull and Ms. Franck returned the house to its former beauty and updated it for contemporary living.
Byrd Residence "After"
Façade renovations included replacing ungainly columns and cast stone trim, re-whitewashing brick, and replacing dark green shutters. An addition to the rear of the house expanded both indoor and outdoor living space without unduly increasing the size of the house visible from the street. In their work together on this renovation, Hull and Franck demonstrate how basic principles of classical architecture such as proportion and scale, so often misunderstood in
Byrd Residence detail "Before"
- Byrd Residence detail “After”
today’s typical McMansions, should work together harmoniously.
Brent Hull is a builder of fine residences, master-craftsman, author, and nationally recognized expert on historic millwork and molding design. Christine G. H. Franck is a designer, adjunct professor of architecture, ICA&CA board member, and author specializing in classical architecture and traditional American domestic architecture.
The third winner of the ICA&CA Rieger Graham Prize, Jana K. Vandergoot, RA, and her husband, Visiting Scholar Michael Ezban, arrived at the American Academy in Rome on September 13 along with the rest of the AAR community and Fellows. Jana’s affiliated fellowship there will last until December and the focus of her winning proposal is to study the symbiosis between classical Roman architecture and ancient food trade networks. In particular, she will research the architecture of the Forum Boarium, the Markets of Trajan, and the Theater of Pompey. Already she has been hanging out with the executive chef at the AAR, where the communal meals are an important and delicious aspect of the experience there. To follow their discoveries and research Jana and Mike have created a blog called VE Studio. Check it out!
The Forum Boarium was the cattle market of ancient Rome.