The Basilica

So, you guys know I love beautiful things. And that I’m always building stories around beautiful things made by some of the genius creators in Second Life. Sometimes, something comes along that’s so stunning it’s impossible to write a story about it except inasumuch as I can tell you about it objectively. I shot a lot of pictures of Gwyneth inside the building, and if there’s a story, it’ll be there. But for now, I’m basically going to fangirl a building. You’re welcome.

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The Basilica

Created by Marcus Inkpen of The Looking Glass for this round of Enchantment, here is a glorious nod to classical architecture. I created a piazza around it because of course it needed one, but don’t worry: there are some uninterrupted shots of the exterior later on in our journey.

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The gods are in the details

I think you have only to look at the beautiful detail touches on the building to recognise what a great design this is.

And sometimes, when something is really great, it prompts us to learn stuff. So I’ve spent a couple of days (probably way less time than Marcus took!) researching this stuff and finding out a lot about basilicas and what they are, what they stand for, that kind of thing. I had only heard of basilica in reference to a church, but it also refers to ancient Roman public buildings, the sorts of places you might use for an official function, like a big court meeting or maybe a huge party that couldn’t be contained in your generously sized, rich Roman citizen type building.

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Rear doors and windows from inside

The Basilica Of Marcus Inkpen (I think that’s a nice official name; don’t you?) also owes a debt to the Christian adaptations of the style; stained glass windows are a feature throughout, with larger ones at either closed end of the building and above both doors.

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Exterior front glass detail

As the only sources of bright colour in the building, these windows stand out and draw the eye, whether seen from inside or outside.

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Rear doors and windows

The lamps set off the rear doors perfectly. Here as well, you can see a smaller version of the front facade, with windows on either side instead of the columns that define the front.

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Avatar For Scale!

Still, when you look at a photo of the building itself, you might get the sense that it’s enormous, but not quite how enormous, so here is a shot of Gwyneth about halfway up the steps at the front of the building. I promise there’ll only be one more photo of her in the rest of this post. (But just so you know, she’s wearing a beautiful gown from Silvan Moon Designs!)

The interior of the building can be imagined as three “rooms”, although there are no interior doors. There is a central square area and two identical areas that branch off on either side. Any of them would be large enough to hold a coronation ball for your favourite King or Queen, or even a fanciful Faerie masquerade. Not that I have any, um, plans for this building, nopenope.

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Don’t forget to look up!

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you to look up when you’re in the central chamber. The dome encloses a moving heliotropic sculpture of a central sun (that’s what heliotropic means — ooh, check out my big vocabulary!) with three planets in simple orbits, against a field of stars. I was mesmerised, and I remember actually squeeing to the friend I was with at the time, something along the not-very-intellectual lines of “OMG LOOK UUUUUP!” Yeah. I get caught up in stuff sometimes: you might have noticed.

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And speaking of domes….

Here is a clear shot of the detail on top of the basilica dome. And, OK, it’s not hard to make something perfectly cylindrical in Second Life, but it is hard to texture it so perfectly that you can imagine how the stone would feel if you touched it. That’s what this building is like.

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More domeage

Is domeage even a word? My spellchecker isn’t sure, but I think that if it isn’t it really ought to be. Here is a view of the dome from the side; it should give you an idea of how some of the statuary looks when viewed from this height.

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From a different perspective

I know this photograph appears somewhat dark in blogpost land; but once they’re up on Flickr, I hope you’ll see why I chose it: namely, to give a sense of perspective and how many different layers and levels make up the outside.

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As for the inside…

As for the inside, well, you really have to experience it. Marcus has masterfully created a floor that looks polished to a perfect shine by inserting an upside-down build beneath the main one. I’ve seen this done a few times before, but with shadows placed in exactly the right, um, places, this one stands head and shoulders above the rest, and not just because it is seriously tall.

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Full Disclosure & Stuff

So, I’m not going to lie to you guys—I would never!—The Basilica of Marcus Inkpen comes with a hefty price both in L$ and LI. Land Impact for the full build is a whopping 977, and the price at Enchantment is L$15,000. But. If you have ever wanted a glorious Roman building somewhere in your Second World, if you want in your Collection Of Buildings (I know you have one!) a near-perfect example of classical architecture, even if it’s just to show your friends from time to time, and you’d like to help support one of the best artisans in Second Life, here’s your chance.

Bodacious Building: The Looking Glass, The Basilica (Available at Enchantment)
(The following items are only visible in the first photo)
Piazza: Created from the Mad Pea Roads and Walls Kit
Piazza Trees: The Little Branch, Olive Tree v2
Piazza Fountain: Atelier Visconti, Frozen Fountain
Piazza Market Stalls: Wishbringer, Market Stall Large
Bounding Buildings: Tarte, Temple Pergola
Avatar: (in two photographs) Gwyneth, but more on that (and the beautiful Silvan Moon Designs gown!) later.