Friday, August 25, 2017

Returning to Beauty in Church Design: Article on NCR

The National Catholic Register recently published a good article by Trent Beattie on the ever growing trend back towards more traditional and more beautiful designs in churches, and some of the firms that are helping to bring this about. I was particularly struck by this line from David Riccio, who works for John Canning Studios, a firm that did some of the work on the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

“...beautiful churches usually cost no more than mediocre or ugly ones. ‘Mediocre or bad church designs can cost just as much as good ones, and the durability is not usually there, so you can easily end up paying even more over the years for a mediocre or bad design than a good one,’ Riccio said.”

(This reminds me of an occasion many years ago, when I was walking with a priest friend through the Roman streets near the Pantheon where many of the shops are that sell vestments and other church goods. In my youth an naiveté, I was surprised to notice that a polyester chasuble with a nightmarish design was more than three times as expensive as a chasuble and all of the additions, including the maniple, in the window of a more reputable firm down the street. To this, my priest said, “Oh yes, poverty is terribly expensive!”)

The article also mentions the church of St Pius X in Granger, Indiana, a new construction which replaced a far less attractive church from the 1970s, and the restoration of the St Turibius Chapel at the Pontifical Seminary Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, both of which we have recently covered here. Here are photos of the latter as it looked before wreckovation, the results of the wreckovation, and the recent undoing of it.

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