Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Sketch Experiment in "Unity by Inclusion"

A hypothetical proposal for a cathedral dedicated to St. Peter in an unspecified city on the Great Plains. Matthew Alderman. January 2007.

I've spoken before of Sir Ninian Comper's explorations of what he called "unity by inclusion," bringing together the architecture of different periods and places and fusing them under the guidance of a single liturgical ideal, a concept I have become increasingly fascinated by since I was exposed to it about a year ago, as it gave shape and form to some nebulous notions I'd already held for a very long time.

Unfortunately, I've been unable to experiment with hypothetical projects of the sort I frequently used to share with you here in the last year, as I've been occupied with a real ecclesiastical furnishing project (a quite extensive one) that is only now winding to a close, and which I will probably be discussing further here in the new year.

In the mean time, here's a little sketch I did back at the beginning of the year, of a fanciful centralized-plan church in what might be termed an American Baroque mode that was inspired by the immigrant churches of Chicago, the Spanish mode of Bertram Goodhue and a bit of Byzantium. It was originally intended to be an academic counter-proposal to the cathedral now under construction in Steubenville, but when I worked out the plan in a little napkin sketch, the centralized nave and deep chancel--you know me well enough to realize I wouldn't stick the altar under the dome, I hope-- resembled the upside-down Cross of St. Peter, so it is now, even more fictitiously, a hypothetical proposal for a new cathedral dedicated to St. Peter in an unspecified Plains city, perhaps one in a part of the U.S. formerly (if nominally) ruled by Spain, given the project's stylistic references to the Churrigueresque and Mexican Baroque.

I also did, around the same time, some sketches for an alternate Steubenville Cathedral in a similar eclectic mode I will have to share with you all in time.

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