The House of the Temple, a Masonic landmark in Washington D.C. that featured in a recent Dan Brown novel, was vandalized over the weekend, with pink paint thrown over one of the sphinxes that ‘guard’ the front entrance of the building. Photographer Luis Gomez took the shot and posted it on his “One Photograph a Day” blog on Monday.
The building, which serves as the headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, in the United States, was built a century ago from a design by architect John Russell Pope. It was a key location in Dan Brown’s 2009 bestseller The Lost Symbol, which featured Masonic locations (actual and alleged) around the United States capital. Here’s a short excerpt mentioning the sphinxes from the section of my book The Guide to Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, in which I discussed the esoteric architecture of the House of the Temple in detail:
The “Illuminati” pyramid atop the building is just one element among many that make it a perfect Dan Brown location. From the outside, this imposing edifice just screams ‘secret society’ (if that’s not a complete contradiction in terms). Two sentinels guard the front entrance – huge stone sphinxes weighing 17 tons apiece, and carrying the names ‘Wisdom’ and ‘Power’ – behind which 33 Ionic columns, each 33 feet high, give the building a Classical look whilst symbolizing the number of degrees in the Scottish Rite. Entry is gained via a (suitably opulentlooking) bronze door, giving access to the stunning Atrium, the “central court of the Temple, where visitors are welcomed and given their first view of the majesty of the Temple’s design and architecture.” And majestic it is: paved with marble and lined by eight huge Doric columns of polished green Windsor granite. The limestone walls are decorated with bronze plaques bearing Masonic emblems. Alabaster bowls atop bronze lamps cast a soft glow upon the room.