From Hart Hall to San Vitale

San Vitale

Is it just me, or does UC Davis’ Hart Hall (below) look a lot like San Vitale, the Early Byzantine-era church in Ravenna, Italy (above)?

hart hall

OK, upon closer inspection, you can see some key differences. For example:

  • The windows at San Vitale are arched, while the Hart Hall ones are rectangular.
  • Hart Hall has a large entablature above the entrance, whereas San Vitale does not.
  • San Vitale has that weird cancerous growth of rooms on its side (i.e. the Narthex)– Hart Hall has something slightly similar, but not really.
  • In fact, we’re looking at just one face of the building,

Still, it does make you wonder if the architect of Hart Hall, which was built in 1928, was trying to emulate the exterior style of the sixth-century Orthodox church. I might have to go hunt down some old records in the library to find out who that architect was. For now all I know is that it used to be called the Animal Science building.

Anyway, this is what taking an art history class is doing to me!