Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Church architecture is fascinating. I think I am a frustrated architect. It seems that there are more nook and cranny places to explore in churches than in any other type of building. This is particularly true if it is an older church.

I have one example for you today. You have seen St. Adelbert church pictured here before. Notice the outside. It is fairly straightforward architecture with a fairly standard roof line.
The inside is fairly different however. It has a rounded ceiling and a dome in apse.

That means that somehow a round inside must fit into a more angular outside. The result is a square shell that looks as though it is hiding a stolen Goodyear blimp.

The high altar in this particular building is actually part of the wall. There is no wall behind the altar – the altar is literally part of the wall from the mensa all the way up reredos. From a door behind the altar you can climb a narrow ladder to the top of the altar and look out at the Church.

Newer church buildings tend to be you see what you get. Not there is anything wrong with that - just lest interesting for snoops like me. But perhaps, if you are lucky enough to have a church with an interesting touch such as this you can look up (after you prayers are done) and imagine how the inside of your church building fits into the outside. Do the pillars actually support the roof or is it ornamental. Sometimes a pitched ceiling is just for beauty and in the cieling you can see a double inverted V - the church celing and then the actual roof.


Anonymous said...

I will indeed try to look upwards and imagine--I never thought to do so before. But I'll probably never get to see the "nooks and crannies" that a priest is privileged to see. Hey! Maybe that's an idea for a fundraiser--a "nooks and crannies" tour of the church, as Stan Hewit Hall does.

MJ said...

I like anon's idea. Leave it to you to find someplace to climb!!!