Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rest and Respite

I've continued to think about this post, from the blog architecture + morality:

" seems to me that churches can help people lead simpler, more focused and satisfying lives by demonstrating what this life looks like, especially on Sunday morning.

So instead of building a church around programs and activities, especially activities for families and children, I see the church as a respite amid restlessness, an oasis for lives already dealing with busyness. The chief role of the church in the suburbs should be one of prayer and worship, ignoring for the most part time constraints and similar pressures. As I look around, there are more than enough activities for families in children in most neighborhoods between school, athletics, theatre, etc. There is even a plethora of charities that do excellent work, often doubling up the churches effort
s. It’s not to say the church should abandon all its programs or charity, but instead should focus less on frenetic activity, and more on teaching us that the frenzied lifestyle is a trap in and of itself.

How can the design of your church express rest and respite?  

[The above image is of the Jubilee church in Rome by Richard Meier.  More detail later, but for a thoughtful blog about the Jubilee church and its place in sacred architecture, see sisu


relieveddebtor said...

First, thanks for the link and you raise an interesting question. While corbusier is the architect for our blog, I'll share a few thoughts. It seems what I'm really advocating more than anything is a chapel. Unlike the big box churches so prevelent in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, or common church architecture from the 50s to the 90s that really limit what a church can look like, I'd love a space that is first and foremost flexible. It's a space that isn't modeled after the council president's living room, and it's a space where anything can change easily. The goal is not to create a building that needs to compete with a city's schools, public gyms, or places of charity. That strikes me as rather wasteful. Instead, the place would be explicity geared towards worship first, and everything else second.

No pews bolted to the floor. No carpet would be a plus. The altar, pulpit (ambo) and font should be able to be moved as well, to possibly reflect change during the church seasons. Places explicitly set aside for prayer, meditation, and artwork are a must, something Protestants tend to ignore. I think instead of money going towards a gym, stained glass, and artisan work would be a better investment. I could go on and on, but this is a start. Any thoughts?

Benjamin Vogt said...

I don't mean to be stalking your websites today, but just wanted to suggest you google the Holy Family Shrine. It's in Gretna, Nebraska, in the prairie. More of a chapel, not a church, but it is all glass and has water running through the floor in the sanctuary that also goes righ ton outside to a fountain. Wish I grew up in a church like this that connected me to the world around literally. Their website seems to be down, however.

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