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architecture

Monday, October 31, 2005

I sometimes attend a parish that is basically a box. Their pastor has plans in the works for a new church building. I spoke briefly with one of the parishioners who thought that there was no need for a new church building. I disagree.

Fortunately there does exist specific rules about how churches are to be laid out. I'm glad that there are ground rules that give us the essentials. I like the idea of church buildings being cruciform. I like church interiors which lift our minds and hearts to the majesty of God ... high ceilings, abundance of natural light, statues of saints, stations of the cross, a general arrangement of "things" that remind us how important God is.

I've been learning just a wee bit about "Gothic" as it relates to church. "Romanesque" would the the half-circle arches and thick walls with few windows. With Gothic, the arches were pointed and stress was trasferred to buttresses, allowing for thinner walls and more windows. Cathedrals in those days took generations to build, and where quality was compromised due to lack of resources, those structures did not withstand time.

The Sisters of Divine Providence in San Antonio have a Gothic chapel that is absolutely beautiful, especially since they've recently renovated it. The
Adrian Dominicans (courtesy of Natty's blog) also have a Gothic chapel, though without "permanent seating." In one of the other blogs, I think I did run across a link to the Benedictines (maybe?) somewhere and they had Romanesque, though modernized (meaning that they don't need the thick walls). If can locate it, I'll update this post.

2 comments:

Natty said...

http://www.thedome.org/, Sr. Steph's Benedictine monastery perhaps? I visited there last month. It was beautiful but not really my style. I bet I would rather like your "boxy" church. My favorite church where I was confirmed in 2000 is rather plain, but it is said that "the people bring the color." I just love it. Plus I get distracted by all the statuary in "traditional" Catholic sanctuaries.

seeking_something said...

Hey, thanks Natty! Yes, Benedicts of Ferdinand is indeed romanesque. I think I saw another example besides that one, but I do very much appreciate the link.

Wonderful that "Catholic" has both uniformity and variety. True, the people are the more important ingredient, but I like expansive spaces as well. Now the shrine constructed by Mother Angelica was a bit much for me. That's a lot of gold.