Thursday, May 3, 2012

a tale of two mansions

Le Chateau de Lumiere, The Building Group Inc.

I caught wind of this story on Huffingtonpost last week. If you would like to read more about it click here. To sum it up, some rich guy with rather opulent taste wants to build the palace (above) in an upscale development outside DC. The neighbors are in an uproar over the scale of the thing and feel it isn't in keeping with "Hidden Springs's traditionally Washington aesthetic, elegant but understated." That part cracked me up because in a way, it is very much in line with the aesthetic of the area. In fact, I think Pierre L'Enfant, the enigmatic architect and engineer credited with designing Washington, would actually be quite pleased with it.

Notice the similarities in the house (below), columns and neoclassical ornamentation, sloped French roof, even little cupolas. Pierre L'Enfant designed this mansion for financier Robert Morris in 1794. Inflated construction costs eventually drove Morris into bankruptcy and the unfinished structure, known as Morris's Folly, was demolished. If history is any guide, the residents at Hidden Spring need only wait it out.  Ha!  It seems things have resolved themselves, even before I could get this posted.  The homeowner backed out! Folly averted. Read more here

 Morris's Folly, Pierre Charles L'Enfant 1794

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