11 February 2011

gothic revival walk

Gatekeeper's Lodge in summer, 1940's

In one of my first posts, I mentioned the Gatekeeper's Lodge was a fine example of Victorian-Gothic architecture - she's a beauty, but not alone in the city of Halifax.   This city holds gorgeous buildings that echo Victorian-Gothic (or Gothic Revival) style!  Wandering along Barrington Street, you may notice the defining features of Gothic Revival style; arched windows, ornate moldings and decorative trims, strong peaks, roof dormers and - low and behold...  TRACERY abounds!  What is tracery, you ask?  (at least I hope you do, because I had to).  Tracery is ornamental stone pattern-work, typically found in the upper part of a Gothic window.  But I digress...   The other Victorian-Gothic of particular interest this week is the Khyber Building, where tracery seems to be almost as plentiful as above the windows as at the Lodge.

Originally the Church of England Institute, this building was designed by Henry Busch, an architect who also planned the Public Library at Province House, the Halifax Academy, the Bandstand in the Public Gardens, and many other Halifax edifices. The Church of England Institute was a building that hosted religious lectures and sermons, as well as the Morton & Co. Provincial Bookstore, which also seems to be particularly focused on religious literature.  Hey, it was a revival!

Below are two examples for notices from the Church of England Institute and the Provincial Bookstore, printed in 1891.

Alberta Microfiche Archives

With an aim to engage and connect these two rich historical buildings, I will be performing an illuminated walk in Halifax, on Sunday evening, February 13, as a part of a performance series organized by Noah Logan and the Khyber Institute for Contemporary Art.  The walk will begin at the Gatekeeper’s Lodge in Point Pleasant Park at 7:00 pm and will progress through the city along Barrington Street to the Khyber.  

I will be using contemporary survival strategies during the performance walk so as to link the two buildings and acknowledge their enduring presence and role as founding structures in Halifax’s Gothic Revival period.  If you would like to view the walk from a cozy interior, you can monitor my progress remotely by visiting the third floor turret of the Khyber on Sunday evening between 7:00 pm and 9:00pm.  If you are more of a participator, I would love for you to join me in front of the Gatekeeper's Lodge at 7:00 pm - sharp! - and we'll illuminate the city together (see route map below).  If you prefer a historical context for the performance walk, I hope you visit this gorgeous interactive map of Halifax in 1879, which features Point Pleasant Park prominently.

Before I say farewell for this post, a special thanks! goes out to Sue Carter Flinn, editor at Quill & Quire, for her mention of The Gatekeeper's Lodge blog on her Akimbo Hit List.  Documentation of the performance on Sunday will be posted asap!

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