Friday, March 19, 2010

Sacred Architecture Conference in Washington DC to Explore Themes of Continuity and Development

News of a conference on sacred architecture came the NLM's way recently. The conference theme is A Living Presence: Extending and Transforming the Tradition of Catholic Sacred Architecture and is being held from April 30-May 1 at the Catholic University of America.

The keynote address will be delivered by Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali, with principal speakers including such familiar names as Duncan Stroik of the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture and Denis McNamara of the Liturgical Institute of Mundelein.

The conference sounds of particular interest insofar as part of its intent to explore "Pope Benedict XVI’s continuing call for an organic growth in every aspect of the life of the church, including its architecture."

From the conference website:

On behalf of the Partnership for Catholic Sacred Architecture we would like to invite you to participate in a Symposium on the design of architecture for sacred space, to be held in April of 2010 on the campus of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, at the School of Architecture. We invite all architects, theologians, philosophers, teachers, artists, liturgical consultants, clergy, and those from all walks of life with an interest in the beauty, educative capacity and inspiration of Catholic churches to assemble for this event.

The title of our Symposium is intended to convey many things, chief among them the continuing presence of the sacred, of God, in the midst of us as a people, and in the buildings we erect to worship Him. It is also meant to express an interest in Pope Benedict XVI’s continuing call for an organic growth in every aspect of the life of the church, including its architecture.

Growth and change come, as is only proper and in the nature of earthly things, but that growth flows most profoundly out of the living experience of Catholics as the people of God, and it should not involve the wholesale destruction of what came before. The human experience is also just that, a physical experience that demands a human scale, materiality that is beautiful, imagery that reminds us that we are part of a much larger family and a great unfolding story. In any age, the church building must be built to reflect that it is a place for the unveiling of a love affair between persons, God and Man.

It is our hope that out of this Symposium will emerge a stronger sense of where we have been, and why, and a great enthusiasm for the possibilities that lie before us in making Catholic churches that are worthy to take their place in the great architectural tradition of the Church. We need your participation for this to occur: your vision, passion, wisdom, learning, experience, and desire for what is good and beautiful and true are essential for this to be a success.

Please join us in April and play your part in making the world anew.

There is still a bit of time if you are interested in making a submission in relation to their Call for Papers and for their Design Competition (Deadline, March 26th).

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