Appreciating Classicism with Christine Franck

Shannon Chance and Christine Franck.

Shannon Chance and Christine Franck.

Prince George's Street in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Prince George’s Street in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Meet my colleague Christine Franck.

I was introduced to Christine when I was delivering a guest lecture at the University of Notre Dame while she was an adjunct professor there.  She usually practices architecture in New York and blogs about classical architecture. She has also written several books and has served as president of the board of the Institute for Classical Architecture and Classical America.

During 2012, Christine and I got together a couple of times in Williamsburg to discuss each others’ research.  Christine has a fascinating idea for an architectural research project.  I’ve been helping her figure out how to pitch the idea to Fulbright.  There are Fulbright grants available to teachers, researchers, and professionals… in my book, she’s all of these.

Without giving too much away, I can say:  Christine is interested in documenting a certain type of housing that is relatively unknown but that she thinks holds keys for the development of sustainable cities and towns.  We hope to connect Christine with professors in Europe who are doing research the same area, in hopes she can do funded research alongside them on the topic she has defined.

A photo my dad, Don Massie, took outside the Wren Building on graduation day, May 2012.  Can't help but love the cap, eh?

A photo my dad, Don Massie, took outside the Wren Building on graduation day, May 2012.

It seems fitting that I meet this classical architect in Williamsburg — the heart of colonial Virginia.  It’s also the place I earned my PhD.

I always enjoy being on William and Mary’s campus and seeing the Wren Building.  It’s the place where I received my diploma in May 2010 — right there on the lawn in front of the famous building.  I felt immensely honored to have received a scholarship from the Christopher Wren Association to study at this amazing university… Christopher Wren was an English architect and I appreciated studying at an institution that held an architect in such high esteem.  About this building, the Colonial Williamsburg website explains:

The Wren Building at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. Photo downloaded from Colonial Williamsburg website.

The Wren Building at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. Photo downloaded from Colonial Williamsburg website.

The College of William and Mary’s Christopher Wren Building is the oldest academic structure still in use in America. Construction on the building began August 8, 1695, two years after the school was chartered; it is the signature building of the second oldest college in the nation (next to Harvard). Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Tyler, and John Marshall studied in its rooms. George Washington was once chancellor of the college, which is now a distinguished university.

Three times destroyed by fire, the appearance of the brick-walled Wren Building has often changed, but it stands today much as it appeared by 1732. It was the first major building restored by John D. Rockefeller Jr., after he began Williamsburg’s restoration in the late 1920s.

3 Comments

  1. Thank you so much Shannon! It was delightful to visit over the Christmas holiday and inspiring to hear about your Fulbright experience. As always, I look forward to hearing more about the research you are doing and your experiences this year.

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