Friday, March 24, 2006

Appropriateness, Flow and Movement or Aesthetical Speed Bumps?



God, the Merciful Father Church built in honor of the Jubilee is shown here. Chiessa has an article about the Church here. On March 26th, Pope Benedict will visit the Church and say Mass there.

An architect gives his impressions here. The article is entitled "A Vacuum in the Spirit". I think we can agree that he is being kind.

Directly from the architect Richard Meier, an interview here.

Meier says of the design:

The proportions of the complex are based on a series of displaced squares and four circles. Three circles of equal radius generate the profiles of the three shells that, together with the spine-wall, make up the body of the church nave and discretely imply the Holy Trinity.


And on Tradition:

The Jubilee Church is not a traditional church. If the Vicariato wanted a traditional church, they would not have invited me to participate in the competition. This church was always intended to be a work of contemporary architecture, meaningful for our time and one that is marked by openness. Transparency and light cascade down from the skylit roof, literally invading the interior of the church and also penetrating from below through a narrow slot opened at floor level. People in the atrium are enveloped with mystical light.


On the purpose of the Church:

RM: The purpose of this church is to weave an isolated residential district back into the communal fabric of Rome. I hope we accomplished this architecturally by creating a sense of appropriateness, flow, and movement throughout the site. The Jubilee Church and Community Center will provide the more than 8,000 residents of the immediate area a space for ritual, play, and celebration. Hopefully, the more than 25,000 residents of the larger area of Tor Tre Teste will avail themselves of the church facilities as well.


Well since according to the architect the Church seats 240 people and only 24 in the day chapel they can't have been expecting many residents to actually attend Mass.

His only criticism:
RM: The Vicariato wanted the project to be exactly as presented in the competition proposal without any changes whatsoever. An architect cannot ask for more support than that. I was given complete freedom. However, it has the traditional organization in relation to the altar and the chapel to the side. The criticism could be made that it is too traditional in its organization.


Oh, to think on the Gothic masterpieces that are being auctioned off to the highest bidder, torned down and converted in luxury condos. I guess this is where elitism (an appreciation for the profoundity of traditional Church design) and populism (outrage at the sacrifices of money and time donated by the faithful) merge.

4 comments:

Tradcatholic said...

After reading the reference article, I see that the only thing this 'church' needs is another Fra Angelico to go in the paint the walls with beautiful murals depicting the substance of the Catholic Faith, and another Michaelangelo to touch up the ceiling with another Sistine Chapel theme of creation and salvation/no salvation. Of course, the better plan would be a few sticks of dynamite placed strategicaly. On the other hand, B16 is the Bishop of Rome, and can do something about this at once.
Well, I can live in hope can't I?

Madeline said...

That building is scary. Does it look to anyone else like it's fallen on its side? Dynamite? I'm thinking more like the earth opening up, and swallowing it whole.

Tradcatholic said...

I took another look and Madeline is correct - the place looks like it is sinking and being swallowed up as we speak!! It is probably sinking into hell where the lost have to look at it forever and ever and ever and ever...

Thomas Shawn said...

"Transparency and light cascade down from the skylit roof, literally invading the interior of the church and also penetrating from below through a narrow slot opened at floor level. People in the atrium are enveloped with mystical light."

Reference Lucifer, light-bringer