Monday, February 18, 2008

Another Talented Catholic Classical Architect: Dino Marcantonio

Architect Dino Marcantonio, presently based in New York, is a talented and scholarly interpreter of the classical language and possibly the only man alive today capable of creating three-dimensional computer renderings that are as beautiful and informative as traditional watercolors. His work is marked by both an intelligent but rigorous use of architectural precedent and detail, as well as a thorough knowledge of the Church's liturgy. Thus far, his built work has been residential, but he has an eager interest in church architecture and has undertaken a number of yet-unbuilt ecclesiastical projects.

One of Dino's most interesting projects was a proposal for a temporary chapel that would have served to house the congregation of St. Agnes in New York after the loss of the parish's old church building to fire. The design was not carried out, though the quality of design in Marcantonio's temporary proposal is far superior to the composition of the church that later permanently replaced the burned-out shell.

Following are some sketches for a projected Ukranian Catholic Church and cultural center in New Jersey.


Setting aside issues of style that are frequently debated here, the most important thing we should take away from the exemplary work done by architects such as Mr. Marcantonio or others we have featured here is that details and materials matter, and that a church's construction is too important a matter to entrust to an architect with neither a background in liturgy or architectural history. I would strongly suggest our readers, especially those in positions to influence church building committees, seek to educate themselves in the differences that separate a great design from that which is merely average. Do not settle for cartoon classical or Disneyland Gothic: in the long run it's simply not worth the money.

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