Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Saturday, August 13, 2011

First United Methodist Church Batesville

 I decided to work on honing my skills to recognize features of architecture, which will be helpful when I cannot find out anything about the building.  Mega-searches have not turned up anything about this church.  However, I did locate a great curriculum for identifying architectural styles and features at the Mississippi Department of Heritage Trust.  So, in the absence of any confirming information, here is my first stab at critical thinking about architecture.  I am counting on MissPres for the usual educational feedback.
I also ran across a book, Historic churches of Mississippi, by Sherry Pace.  Pace indicates that "some designs don't fit neatly into stylistic themes" and tend to "exhibit combinations of influences."  I think that might be the case here with this church.  My take on the building is that it has some elements of Greek Revival present: Doric colums ("classic Doric is simple" per MDHT curriculum).  It also has a low pitched roof, which seems to be the case here.  The semi-circular arch is also a feature in some Greek Revival buildings.

That is the depth of my assessment as of now.  I did, however, learn some new terms that I did not previously know.  It's not hard to see a column and know it is a column, and not too difficult (I think, anyway) to discern Doric from Ionic.  I can tell the difference between a dome and a cupola; this building has a dome.

Here are the new things I learned:
Entablature: the structure of moldings and bands that run horizontally above the columns

Architrave: the support that runs from column to column and rests on the capitals of the columns

Frieze: the molded strip above the architrave; it may or may not be ornamental

Cornice: the projection below the pediment

Pediment: the triangular section above the entablature


ELMalvaney said...

Sounds like you've got it down, Susie! We would probably call the church "Neoclassical" since it has elements of both Greek and Roman architecture (the arch is actually more Roman than Greek, which was pretty strictly squared off.

Also, the text for the Historic Churches book was written by Mississippi's long-time chief architectural historian Richard Cawthon. Pace took the photos.

That curriculum by Mississippi Heritage Trust is truly a valuable resource, and I hope the word gets out more than it has to teachers so that it can be used more widely. MHT is a non-profit organization rather than a state department.

Soon you'll be spouting off about barrel vaults, cantilevers, the difference between Roman Ionic and Greek Ionic and making the rest of us quake before your superior knowledge just like all architectural historians do! :-)

Suzassippi said...

I knew I would be able to count on you. It was definitely difficult, and you have no idea how many other photos I looked at to compare. It seemed to me that the neoclassical looked too ornate, but then, I see there is just a multitude of interpretations of a particular style.

And bad google on dissing Cawthon! I'll check that out and set those folks straight.

Finally, I do love the curriculum and will be using it for the October historic preservation workshop in Mound Bayou. We'll have PR coverage, so by the time that baby makes the news, MHT will have swarms of folks using the curriculum. It really is quite creative.

krwest99 said...

For "The James Pirkle Blues Band" I want to say we had a wonderful time at "Mound Bayou's 3rd Annual September Fest". Thank you so much for the hospitality you showed us. We enjoyed being a part of your festival. And we hope that we can be a part of a part of it in the future.
Thanks again so very much!
Kenneth Ray West

krwest99 said...

Speaking for "The James Pirkle Blues Band" we had a wonderful time at "Mound Bayou's 3rd Annual September Fest". Thank you for the hospitality you showed us. We are happy to have been a part of your festival and hope that we can be a part of it in the future.
Thanks again so very much!
Kenneth Ray West