Queens Court Residential College
Fordham University, Rose Hill Campus
By Sarah Downey
Queen's Court Residential College, formerly called Our Lady's
Court, is a residence hall on Fordham University's Rose Hill campus
in the Bronx. The building is comprised of three separate halls,
St. John's Hall, St. Robert's Hall, and Bishop's Hall. St. John's
Hall is the oldest of the three, dating back to 1844. It was constructed
under the guidance of the Archbishop of New York, John Hughes,
the founder of Fordham, and was initially the college's seminary.
The construction of St. Robert's Hall, named for St. Robert Cardinal
Bellarmine, S.J., and Bishop's Hall, named for all the Fordham
alumni appointed bishops, did not begin until December of 1939.
Each of the three halls was created in the neo-Gothic, or Revival
Gothic, style of the 19th century, which extended world wide and
was patterned after the original Gothic style of late medieval
(specifically between the 12th and 16th centuries) western Europe.
Gothic architecture was, and remains, most obvious in ecclesiastic,
as opposed to secular, structures. Therefore, many of the Gothic
characteristics present in the architecture of Queen's Court suggest
an ecclesiastic influence. Queen's Court is a stone structure
built in an U shape, each U being one of the three halls. The
building surrounds a courtyard, in the center of which is a statue
of the Virgin Mary. This courtyard, although it is not fully cloistered,
is reminiscent of the courtyards of medieval monasteries. The
exterior doors facing the courtyard are wooden and in the image
of the French Gothic arch. There are windows on all sides of the
building, and they are aligned in perfect symmetry. On the top
of Queen's Court there are archery posts, certain remnants of
medieval castles. Inside, the three halls are connected by one
large living room, called Bishop's Lounge. This capacious room
is paneled in dark wood and is supported by wooden ceiling beams.
The center, or focal, point of the lounge is a large stone fireplace,
framed by the same deep wood. The windows in the lounge are leaden
with stained glass. Within the glass, the crests of all Fordham
bishops are detailed. These stained glass windows obviously are
derived from the windows of medieval churches.
Origin of Idea
In structure, Queen's Court is patterned after the Gothic architecture
of late medieval Europe, while in theory it is patterned after
the ideal of the residential college at Oxford University in the
Middle Ages. While there is no definitive date for when Oxford
was established, it is speculated to have been in the year 1168.
Oxford began thriving as an university with the arrival of the
Catholic clergy, specifically the Dominican and Franciscan orders.
In 1264, the House of Scholars of Merton was founded. It began
as a home for twenty impoverished students and was presided over
by two or three priests. Likewise, Fordham is controlled by a
Catholic order of priests, the Jesuits, and Queen's Court is presided
over by two Jesuits. Students who reside in Queen's Court, like
Oxford students, are offered the opportunity to enroll in classes
in the building, with the students with whom they live. Monday
through Thursday evenings, the residents of Queen's Court gather
in the lounge for Night Court, a social event where one resident
speaks on any topic and encourages discussion among the group.
Also, once a month, the residents gather for Common Dinner, a
special community dinner. Each of these events is an effort to
promote a sense of community among the residents of Queen's Court.
This attempted union between the academic and social spheres of
university life is directly derived from Oxford University in
the Middle Ages.
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