Touring a Vegas home

Las Vegas. Sunny skies with highs near sixty and lows near freezing. After corresponding with real estate companies, most of which turned out to be automated systems, C. and I spent the day touring homes for rent. Most tours are self-guided now, with robots texting lockbox codes. 

Vegas architecture hides from the sun. Blank walls of concrete and stucco face the south, with windows punched in odd places to allow some light but not so much that it will cook everyone inside. Perfect squares of sky look like a James Turrell installation. As we consider each room, there is much discussion of orientation.

I recently learned most Christian churches sit along an east-west axis, with the entrance to the west and the altar to the east. In most cathedrals, stained glass scenes from the Old Testament are on the north wall, and moments from the New Testament cover the south. “This was a theological statement,” write Gabriele and Perry in The Bright Ages. “In the northern hemisphere, the south-facing side of any building receives more sun, so the New Testament would be illuminated even as the Old Testament remained in the shadows.” 

As we continue our search, I find myself studying the sun’s path through windows more closely, hunting not only for moments of shade and aesthetic delight but metaphysical propaganda.

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2 months ago

Yes, altar towards the rising sun. If you ever look around old churchyards in England, you’ll find far fewer headstones on the North side, as they put the murderers and suicides there, everyone else south side. Old churches were always a good way to get a bearing on long countryside rambles, but now we have iPhones! 😉

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