Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Friday, August 12, 2005

Sacred Architecture

Most modern churches look like they were built by robots without reference to the heritage of church architecture or respect for the place; they embody no awareness that work can be worship.

I've been reading Wendell Berry's essay "Christianity and the Survival of Creation" during my lunch breaks and bathroom visits. It has been rather encouraging and poetic to read from a simple farmer in Kentucky describing the need for art and work in our lives. (those terms are not what I thought they meant) The above quote made me reminisce about my first few years in college. Not college life per say, but the year and a half I spent in my dorm, the architecture building, and everywhere else in between creating and re-imagining structures, plans and ideas. It was fun, yet challenging especially my first year into the program. One of my first classes that introduced me into the world of architecture was architectural history. Just to give you an idea of how incredibly hard this class was, we studied for our test by looking at slide show slides in their actual size through a glass window, while about 30 other students looked on. That was our reference for the Renaissance columns to flying buttresses of the Baroque period. Most of the structures we observed were cathedrals along with public buildings and judicial courthouses of such.

If you have ever been to Europe or outside of the US, you'll probably notice these large massive cathedrals jetting out from the skyline. Not only do they look rather lonesome stretching toward the heavens, inside its the same story: empty and hollow.
Even though I'm not suggesting we rebuild all our buildings, especially churches to re-conform back to our rich heritage of architecture, but I think there is room to speak of scared space in our meeting places. Whether a religious place such as a church or synagogue, or a public place like a urban cafe, I think value and holiness can be found in the angles and designs of our structures residing in the land.

More thoughts to come later. Yours?