Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Beautiful God Spaces

Can anyone tell me why Roman Catholics get modern architecture right when Protestants often don't come close? I have been in many beautifully designed churches, chapels, and living spaces created for congregations and monastic orders. I find them worshipful, unique, visually stunning. I'm hard pressed to think of similar examples of Protestant architecture, and forget about the United Church. We went through our cookie cutter phase of building during the Baby Boom sixties and haven't done much that is original since. Many evangelical churches are big, but I often feel that they are somewhere between a mall movie complex and a big box store. I wonder if many Protestants feel that beauty is a sin, an extravagance which is contrary to the austere ideals of the dour Calvinists who kick-started the Reformation.

Read this from the Globe and Mail piece on the building in East York:
The 90,000-square-foot project, which replaced a nursing home on the site, is designed with a broad program of green technologies and strategies, including geothermal heating and cooling, solar electricity and water-heating, and rainwater retention.

As the sisters were preparing to leave their larger property a few kilometres north, whose sale helped pay for their new residence, they worked with Shim-Sutcliffe architects to develop a set of principles that included “simplicity, beauty and wise use of materials and spaces,” and accommodations that would be “welcoming, accessible, ecologically sustainable, designed in harmony with nature, and with flexibility and potential for diverse use now and into the future.”
I'm sure that these sisters have lived simply through the years, so I'm glad that their later years will be in the midst of such a beautiful setting.
How do you feel about the creation of spaces like these. Are they God-honouring, or excessive? Is it okay to praise God by creating such sanctuaries and spaces or offensive when there is so much need in the world?





Laurie said...

One of my Mom's oldest friends is a Sister of St. Joseph's. We have been up to their new home in East York. The place is amazing! So much light, it is beautiful.

Judy Mcknight said...

A place of worship needs to be beautiful and awe inspiring - it is from these places that we go out to be the church in the world ... and we need to make sure, as these sisters and their designers did, that the place is ecologically respectful, as well as ascetically pleasing and God honouring.

David Mundy said...

I would love to visit. You are fortunate Laurie. I like the earth-honouring aspect as well Judy.