Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Matthew Alderman in Sacred Architecture

I was overjoyed when I was approached to do a long article on Oakland Cathedral for Sacred Architecture, moving from the book review section to their main features, especially as I fondly remember my days working on the magazine during my time in Mr. Stroik's office as an undergrad. It was a difficult and challenging article to write, as I sought to face the question without the usual sarcasm and frustration that a confirmed architectural traditionalist such as myself is frequently tempted to bring to such a piece. And I think the result is a fair, balanced article that nonetheless does not overlook some substantial aesthetic and practical problems with the design. It is called "The Lonely God" and can be easily found in the middle of the 2009 edition of the journal. It marks, also, probably the first time the word "JumboTron" has been used in a work of ecclesiological criticism.

In the course of preparing it, I spoke with both the now-Archbishop Vigneron and the architect himself, and found them both men of goodwill, even if perhaps I might disagree with their aesthetic choices. I certainly appreciate the archbishop's efforts to spruce up the design, even if I wish he had been able to do much more, and am saddened by the ultimate result of the project. The article is not yet available online, but please, have a read the next time you pick up Sacred Architecture.

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