Chapel of Saint Basil
Throughout Houston there are a number of buildings topped with large gold domes. Some are banks. Some are abandoned. All look like they should be religious facilities, and this one actually is. The Chapel of Saint Basil is on the campus of the University of Saint Thomas. It features a dome reaching 70-feet into the air. Unlike the other domes around town, this one is intersected by a 57-foot-tall black granite wall. The wall is 115-feet long and serves as something of a bell tower for the chapel on the outside. On the inside, the wall continues, dividing the worship area from the foyer. Since the wall isn't as tall as the dome, it leaves a mighty gash through it. This serves as an aperture to let natural light enter the sacristy. The dome is covered with 3,000 square feet of 23.5 karat gold leaf. At the time of its completion, it was the largest gilded dome in Texas. Though you may learn to love the dome from distance, getting closer gives you the opportunity to appreciate the entrance. It is a simple tear in the skin of the building, slightly pulled back to allow one to tuck themselves inside. Architectural beauty, indeed. But not appreciated by the neighborhood thugs who like to use it as a launching ramp for thier bicycles, leaving tire marks up the side of God's house.
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