A fascinating post. One reason why Church architecture is such an interesting topic is that of its nature it ties into so many other topics. It is the visible of so many invisibles.
Something that struck me in particular was St. Bernard’s comment concerning paintings and ornamentation vs. simplicity of form. While Bernard’s approach is arguably not compatible with others’ such as the Byzantine, his words at no point struck me as iconoclastic. Whenever I look a pictures of Bohm’s church, however, I cannot help but think “iconoclasm” despite the magnificent light imagery. This especially so since that imagery has been completely negated by the altar being moved after Vatican II.
Domikus Böhm’s Heilig-Kreuz Kirche in Dülmen
In a fascinating series Shawn Tribe and Matthew Alderman, have been examining what they call “The Other Modern” in sacred architecture: architecture which learns from the tradition rather than rejecting it, but which nevertheless has a peculiarly modernist flair. One of the questions which they have raised is whether it is possible to make use of elements of modernist minimalism and austerity in an authentically Catholic fashion. Even if the avante garde of modernism tended to use minimalism as an expression of nihilism, or the as a revolutionary demonstration of man’s self-alienation in his works, are there no other uses possible? Could one use a form of modernist austerity to achieve “noble simplicity”? There have certainly been architects who thought that it could, and the “Other Modern” series has brought some interesting examples to light…
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