As I have come to expect of “improvements” at St. Paul’s these days, there is a downside to the new railings. Although they seem very competently installed—they are sturdy and do not look like an afterthought addition—they do not match other railings and seem, well, excessively elaborate, calling attention to themselves, rather than to the building. (A fellow parishioner described their fanciful curlicues as “ froufrou.”)
Here is what the Mayfair Drive entrance to the narthex looks like now:
|Mayfair Drive narthex entrance with new railings (click for larger image)|
Of course, the railings are not totally dissimilar to the railings on the front steps, on the steps leading from the sidewalk to the Mayfair Drive entrance to the narthex, or on the steps at the entrance near the church office. All have similar balusters, with heavier balusters at the ends. Whereas all the other railings have handrails that terminate in a simple curve—see photo below—the new railings end in ungainly extensions supported by extravagant, curvaceous wrought iron constructions. Rather than looking like appliances one might see on an English country church, the new railings seem more appropriate for a New Orleans whorehouse.
|Curved railing on front steps (click for larger image)|
|Detail of new railing (click for larger image)|
|Detail of plan for steps (click for larger image)|
I am very anxious about the projects being funded by the recent capital campaign. (I plan to discuss this in greater detail in a future post.) The rebuilding of the narthex steps was planned without a call for parishioner input—I would have argued for limestone steps to match other steps to the building, even though the steps being replaced were concrete—was not completed according to the architectural plans, and required at least 15 months after plans were drawn up. Will other projects be executed with equal nonchalance?