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Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School

Designed by Patrick M. O’Meara and James B. Hills, Villa Duchesne was opened in 1929 by Mother Mary Reid of the Society of the Sacred Heart, in the architectural style that could be described as “Norman Revival” but what I will label Romanesque Revival.

It is heavily influenced by the restoration of the Medieval fortress of Carcassonne in southern France.

It possesses two bisymmetrical wings that branch off from the central portal flanked by the two massive cylindrical towers.

The chapel, which I believe was part of the original plan and faces Spoede Road, was completed in the 1950s.

The famous firm of HOK designed the Modernist student activities center which opened in 1961.

The campus still sits in a beautiful grove of oak trees, in what had been the Lang and the Jaccard Estate, of the famous jewelry company in St. Louis.

6 Comments

  1. Carcassonne is now a Norman-style building after Viollet-le-Duc’s re-imagining of the place; he inappropriately converted a Southern French fortress into his conception of what a Northern French fortress should look like.

    That being said, Villa Duchesne’ only Norman-style features are the slate-tiled, conical-roofed towers. I do not see any typically Norman arches; the entrance is too pointed, almost Gothic, and the chapel’s arches seem too flatened.

    What the building complex is, is an example of 1920s American historical eclecticism, merging different styles and periods from different places together to create, depending on ones views, something new and unique or something that is a mongrelized mess.

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