Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bornhouse Chapel, Venice Biennale, 2009

Chapel within a church, constructed by Russian architectural consortium bornhouse in the San Stae church for the Venice Biennale. Luminous, simple design well-suited for a free standing structure as well. There is a video of the grid-based construction at the link.

I believe these are laser-cut wood panels...I'm interested in how this sort of delicate screening effect could be applied to the monolithic expanses of steel and glass seen so often in American church construction.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


The chaplets of Marjorie Schlossman are 'sacred spaces, open to the public, open to people of all religious and secular belief systems, free of charge, and full of art.'

In 2001, Marjorie purchased a mid-twentieth century buildingin downtown Fargo, North Dakota, and 'hired architect Bruce Hella to renovate it, instructing him to fill it with light from as many sources as possible. A plunging skylight on the roof, curved interior glass block walls and wide storefront windows bring light in from all four directions.

Three long walls of this “ecumenical meditation or art chapel” contain Marjorie’s vibrant canvases. The artist has compared the three walls to the movements of a symphony, thereby linking her three passions – art, music and architecture – through the creation of this beautiful space', which opened to the public in 2002 free of charge.

'The completion and success of the Roberts Street Chapel compelled Marjorie to create more structures with the same purpose.' In 2006 she enlisted six area architects to create inspiring, portable spaces for under $25,000, to which she added her art on walls, ceilings and floors.

The chaplet in the first two photos above, by Richard Moorhead and sons, used looping carbon-coated fiberglass rods that sway in the wind like prairie grasses to echo the shape of the Conestoga wagons that crossed the Great Plains.

'The Roberts Street Chaplet Project opened in July 2006 on the grounds of the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks, North Dakota. After a month’s stay there, it moved to an unusual site in Fargo – the parking lot between a Sears and Best Buy store outside West Acres Mall. '

Images and text from Marjorie's website; more info at Metropolismag

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inspired by the Apocalypse

The magnesium and glass furniture for Saint Eucaire’s Church in Metz designed by Frank Stanimira Rafaschieri is startling in its gothic setting, much like the Panton chairs in St. Bartholomew. It takes as its equally startling inspiration the mysterious and troubling Apocalypse.

[text edited from an account at yatzer.com]

"For two thousand years, the Apocalypse has been a continuous source of inspiration. Many works of art represent the vision of the future World described in the New Testament. The Apocalypse ends with the vision of the heavenly Jerusalem, the story which began with the expulsion of man from Paradise Land finished with his ascension to a new heaven and a new earth." Those who ascend can quench their thirst at the river water of life and eat from the tree of life...living water flowing from magnificent fountains in the middle of a garden paradise. In the project design, we sought to represent water, and the source of life, raised several times in the texts.

The spirals in the work are its organizing motif; a dynamic form symbolizing life, the universe, the mystery of creation and the infinite. Their verticality alludes to ascension.

The elongated oval of the table represents Christ welcoming us with open arms. The posts reflect a fountain flowing water, and are twelve in number, sybolizing the foundations of the Holy City and the apostles of Jesus.

In the pulpit the spirals represent the vibrations of sound waves--the scope and depth of the voice of God--teaching the Faith. The twists also represent the Alpha and Omega, infinity. The seven posts refer to the seven seals of the Apocalypse, which only the Lamb may break, giving Christ a central role.
[photos via yanko design]

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The View Beyond the Pulpit

Behind the pulpit/stage/choir loft/baptistry (depending on your configuration) is at worst a blank wall, at best some stained glass. I like the approach of the Casa da Musica, Porto, Portugal, with a view to the wider world outside.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Great Design from Cheap Materials - 5

In most building projects there are at least a few uprooted trees; a stunning design for an altar (or any other) table.
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