Page N4.2 . 26 September 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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    Faith in Architecture


    The Abbey of St. Warburga is sited on the south slope of a gentle hill overlooking the fertile bottom lands that serve the agricultural needs of the nuns. The chapel -- the first structure completed in a series of buildings that will also include residential quarters, a library, infirmary, and gathering spaces -- rises from this slope as the highest and most dominant structure.

    Its gray walls and copper dome and accents blend with the landscape, while the sunlight-filled interior roots the building to the site. For the jury, this project's massive structure "blends luminously with the landscape of weathered stone. The symmetry of the interior and the use of materials support a calm, reflective atmosphere in a liturgical space."

    The Nearly Sacred

    The Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral Founders' Hall in Kansas City, Missouri, is not a worship space, but it captures the essence of sacred design in its reverence for the nearby existing cathedral and its use of materials.

    Designed by Gould Evans Affiliates and Taylor MacDougall Burns Architects, the facility includes a 300-seat social hall, with kitchen, maintenance, and storage below; plus an enclosed courtyard that acts as an outdoor room for fair-weather events.

    The design also includes a new entry to the complex of buildings. The new gable roof, parallel to the existing nave and a Diocesan Center, composes a triad of related forms. Local limestone and red clay roof tile recall the older buildings but express modern construction methods.

    The rubble walls of the nave are recalled by the walls below the belt course, while the upper walls are made of precisely machined stone. The triangular prismatic columns of the new colonnade restate this quality in geometry that invokes the cathedral's name.

    "A juxtaposition of glass forms reach out over the street," noted the jury, "while the facade's smooth and rough layering details frame the cross. The details are modern and interpretive."

    These award-winning projects demonstrate that architects and designers are applying a variety of problem-solving approaches to making sacred architecture that responds to climate, culture, local custom, and a growing number of faith traditions.

    Rather than through "one true way," sacred architecture is growing and vital via many paths.

    Members of the awards jury were Boston architect Maurice Finegold, New York designer Bonnie Srolovitz, Cleveland architect Douglas Hoffman, Duke University professor of religion Jackson Carroll, and Carol Freening, liturgical consultant from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    Michael J. Crosbie is editor-in-chief of Faith & Form, an associate with Steven Winter Associates, and a contributing editor to ArchitectureWeek.



    ArchWeek Image

    New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.
    Photo: Craig Dugan/ Hedrich Blessing

    ArchWeek Image

    Orcas Christian Church and School in Eastsound on Orcas Island, Washington, designed by The Lewis Architects.
    Photo: J.K. Lawrence

    ArchWeek Image

    Orcas Christian Church and School.
    Photo: J.K. Lawrence

    ArchWeek Image

    First German United Methodist Church in Glendale, California, by Fields Devereaux Architects & Engineers.
    Photo: Joshua White

    ArchWeek Image

    First German United Methodist Church.
    Photo: Joshua White

    ArchWeek Image

    Chapel of the Abbey of St. Warburga in Northern Colorado by Barrett Studio Architects.
    Photo: David Barrett/Barrett Studio Architects

    ArchWeek Image

    Chapel of the Abbey of St. Warburga.
    Photo: Vic Moss/Moss Photography

    ArchWeek Image

    Floor plan, Chapel of the Abbey of St. Warburga.
    Image: Barrett Studio Architects

    ArchWeek Image

    Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral Founders' Hall in Kansas City, Missouri, designed by Gould Evans Affiliates and Taylor MacDougall Burns Architects.
    Photo: Timothy Hursley


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