John Russell Pope: Temple of the Scottish Rite

Yesterday I posted an image of a beautiful light fixture and it raised some interest in the building it came from: the Temple of the Scottish Rite.

I've been fascinated with this building since moving to DC, sitting so stately on 16th street. It is open for tours but I've never managed to make it on time during their limited hours.John Russell Pope, so often associated with the grandest monuments and houses in DC, actually got his start in the city on this Greek inspired building when he was selected in 1910 for its design. Five years later it was finished and became the headquarters for the Grand Council of the Masons.

Since opening, the building has always garnered attention; winning many architectural awards and being listed in 'top buildings' lists for close to a century now. This is not surprising given its' historic precedent, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, the tomb of Mausolus at the Greek city of Halicarnassus. Yes you read that correctly, this tomb was so well respected that it soon became the word used for all great burial chambers: mausoleum.While choosing a tomb as the basis for the design of a great civic building may seem strange (the temple housed the first public library started in 1917 for the city, thus making it civic), one cannot deny the sheer elegance and respect that it commands on so important a street.

Many of the details of this grand building bring the awesome scale down to be appreciated at human scale, such as the light fixtures I showed yesterday and these amazing door knockers on the tall bronze entry doors. Hopefully I'll be able to tour the interiors shortly and try to share them with you all.

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