Surely there are thousands of examples of how Catholics have built sacred spaces over the years. But why do we build the structures the way we do? How does one design for that? To succeed, we should begin with a theological concept.
DESIGN INSPIRATION: THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception offers numerous opportunities for an architectural expression to be uniquely Catholic. What follows are some thoughts about why the Immaculate Conception is a very appropriate idea to build a Catholic church around.
For Baker Architects, the design of a specifically “Catholic” church centers around what John Henry Newman and Hans Urs von Balthasar call, “The Incarnational Principle.” By the Word becoming flesh, humanity is joined with the divine through Christ’s incarnation. In other words, by God becoming “enfleshed” in Christ, He revealed to us the true nature of existence; we are creatures subsisting of both body and soul, and we are children of God. Furthermore, since God revealed himself to us by becoming flesh, He reaffirmed His affirmation made in Genesis that all He had created was “very good.” The Incarnation allows for the sacramental use of physical things which stir our imaginations and help us in coming to know, feel, and adore the transcendence of God. That is what a Catholic Church, being one of the largest sacramental signs we have, is supposed to do. Parish buildings express this reality through their design.
What is “Dynamically Orthodox Architecture?” It is a design approach that is marked by fidelity to the Church and openness to the Holy Spirit. Our designs are built upon the sturdy foundation of the Catholic Church’s rich architectural history, but with a dynamically forward-looking approach to bringing beauty into our world. This approach allows for a sense of timelessness and newness to be present within sacred spaces.
We recently hosted a webinar that explored our process in bringing the idea of Dynamically Orthodox Architecture to fruition entitled “The 10 Steps to Getting from Vision to Reality”. The interest was exceptional so we’ve made the webinar available as an encore presentation.
Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption – Covington, KY
We firmly believe that “Beauty will save the world.” Therefore, we design by principle that brings beauty to reality. Through this approach, we embrace architectural orthodoxy while expressing the dynamics of today’s New Evangelization.
As a practical approach to help parish communities tackle the monumental task of building or expanding their capital assets, we use cutting-edge computer visualizations that help communicate design ideas to parishes for fundraising, inspiration, and to “see it before you build it.” Together with traditional visualization methods as well, we can help your church build upon its community and flourish in the new millennium.
I am happy to share with you what I have learned from my two decades of experience in designing worship spaces. Due to the interest in our recent webinar, we are offering a new topic later this month “What Makes a Catholic Church ‘Catholic’?”
Is 2017 the time for a fresh start or a renewal for your parish? Are you looking to expand, restore, or beautify your church, school, or parish grounds?
Contact me today to learn more about how we can help you create a liturgical atmosphere filled with Noble Beauty.
“None of this is made possible if it were not for Mary’s Immaculate Conception and her wonderful fiat that sprung forth from it.”
A Catholic church is not just another building, it is not just a worship space; it is a sacred space.
— Steve Baker, PhD(c) AIA Principal Architect www.BakerAIA.com
P.S. Catch the entire interview with Gus Lloyd on my blog: