A Vernacular Dialogue: Understanding the Architectural and Community Significance of the Mount de Sales Gatehouse

Mentor: Joe Lucchesi

Gate House

Abstract: This thesis addresses the architectural and community significance of a vernacular, utilitarian structure, known as “the Gatehouse”, located on the property of Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville, Maryland. The beacon of Mount de Sales, the Gatehouse no longer meets the structural codes of the state, and as such remains empty, future development and revitalization. Challenging the conventions of preservation practice, this paper examines how the Gatehouse transcends the ordinary and warrants recognition in the architectural historical record. Examining how the Gatehouse corresponds to the four ideas of space established by Leland Roth creates an understanding of how the structure was used and interpreted. Moving into an idea of place, as presented by Robert Venturi, connecting the physical, perceptual, conceptual and behavioral spaces to intention and a greater national dialogue further substantiates the uniqueness of the Gatehouse and its role as symbol of the community. Emblematic, the Gatehouse through these connections stands out from other historical examples, making it eligible for grant funding. Creating a template for the, this paper also directs Mount de Sales as to how to approach restoring the Gatehouse. Ultimately, the Gatehouse as both the literal and symbolic marker of the institution moves beyond the vernacular and utilitarian, revealing a community through its architectural legacy.