Mansion at Parlange Plantation
The mansion at Parlange Plantation which is located in Lousiana was built during the period of 1785-1795. Unfortunately, the architect of this mansion is unknown, however, the years of construction shed a great deal of light on the atmosphere of the era which influenced the exterior design greatly. The building, as the plantation house is supposed to be, is surrounded by garden which encircles it from all sides, creating a certain protection from the curious eyes of strangers. Thanks to this garden, the mansion looks nice and inviting. However, in my opinion, it would look very uninteresting without the beautiful nature.
When I first saw the picture of the mansion, my initial impression revealed the thoughts which were quite negative. I considered the house to possess no special features and be very common and plain. However, that was just the first impression which is often wrong. The beauty of this house definitely lies in its simple sophistication and original elegance which can be found in the white columns and ascending stairs that lead to the second floor.
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I do not really like the shutters on the windows because they tell me that the inhabitants prefer staying closed from the rest of the world. However, this thought is also erroneous as the first function of the shutters is to protect the glass, to hinder noise and light. Moreover, usage of this element in the exterior design was quite endemic to that period.
The house looks quite modern, and only the roof tells the observer a real age of this building. The tile seems to go through a lot of bad climatic changes – from the sharp wind to the crashing hail which left its marks on it. The chimneys are made of pure brick and give the mansion a feeling of some medieval castle that was built for the clergyman in the village. The small windows on the roof make me think of the last third floor where the servants of the owner lived. Maids in white starched kerchiefs with perfectly clean aprons and thick skin on the hands from the hard work; and men in eighteenth century suits, with long mustache and amusing cylinders in their head who are responsible for the household chores and everyone else in the mansion but the owner’s family.
The style of the building is quite strict and a little bit official. The harmonic elements complement each other in their contrasts – bright white makes the black look even blacker. This white color is far from welcoming, it is cold and rejecting. The house seems to be sticking to the saying: “My house is my fortress”. This contrastive nature of the building is also revealed through the open terraces-balconies on the second level which as if show how good it must be to go out there at night and enjoy the starry sky. However, this thought is only instant and disappears as soon as I look closer at the mansion.
The stairs deserve a separate description. They are majestic. They erase all the thoughts of poor existence of working people at plantations. They create an impression of some royal beauty: Like a red carpet in the world of show-business. Their elegance, however, makes the house even more unreachable for the ordinary people: The majestic but completely inaccessible mansion which despite its evident open interior still pushes away. I would describe it as the combination of uncombined things: Balanced chaos, or contrasting harmony – something which is so meaningful, however, has no meaning at all.
In conclusion, I would like to say that the mansion is a marvelous creation of minimalistic architectural style which is careful about using too many different elements in order not to spoil the balanced and at the same time chaotic beauty of the house. Balance architecturally, but chaotic in the meaning it passes. The house has something modernistic about it, too. It feels like the first level is for spacious garages with flashy cars and the second floor has uncozy and cold rooms where people behave in very reserved manners which do not suit the epoch. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder – this would be a great way to describe the controversial architecture of the mansion.
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