September 23, 2007

Posted without comment...

Interesting small piece in the NYT on the trend back towards traditional church architecture...

...“Architects began to design churches that were meant to promote a sense of community gathered for celebration,” he added. “While older churches tried to set themselves apart from the world, these were buildings that were meant to blend into neighborhoods.”

These buildings were focused around casual, multipurpose spaces. Pastors asked architects for assembly halls that would allow members and clergy members to be able to see one another’s faces, so sanctuaries were often arranged in circles or semicircles. Pulpits were moved from the head of the church to the middle or done away with altogether. Statues were removed. Pitched roofs became flat. Steeples vanished.

Critics of the movement saw this trend toward plain, functional buildings as an insult to the divine. A flurry of books by influential architects and critics led the attack, including Michael S. Rose’s salvo, “Ugly as Sin: Why They Changed Our Churches From Sacred Spaces to Meeting Places and How We Can Change Them Back” (Sophia Institute Press, 2001), and Moyra Doorly’s “No Place for God: The Denial of Transcendence in Modern Church Architecture” (Ignatius Press, 2007).

Ms. Doorly, an architect and writer in Britain, has also started a campaign called Outcry Against Ugly Churches, or OUCH.

While many churches have taken up the call to return to traditional building styles, especially those that still worship with a formal liturgy and sacraments, Dr. Kieckhefer points out that modern “big box”-style churches are often simply more cost effective for congregations to build, and for that reason, he doesn’t see them disappearing from the landscape...

I myself will just just keep my mouth shut here. If I ever let fly with my feelings about modern church architecture and those who promote it, I might lose control altogether and damage Charlene's oriental carpets which she loves what with chewing on them.

"Random Thoughts Sundays"250

Posted by John Weidner at September 23, 2007 5:36 AM
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