Why can't we build loveable Catholic churches like we used to?
The short answer is...
In fact, we can build better today than we use to. Using timeless building principles we can make them last for generations. Additionally, through the use of cutting-edge technologies, our Catholic churches can be filled with artwork, sculptures, icons, and stained-glass windows. Likewise, our ceilings can be beautifully crafted works of art just as they have been for centuries. More importantly, it doesn't have to cost a fortune.
All we need is to regain our shared Imagination. One that sees God present in all of Creation and in human beings - a mode of being in the world rooted in the reality of the Incarnation. The Catholic Imagination forms the sacramental system whereby material things and human beings are channels and sources of God's grace. All of Creation is good and God is present everywhere.
A Loveable Catholic Church must Appeal to the Catholic Imagination
To do so, it must be:
What happens when a Catholic church does not Appeal to the Catholic Imagination?
It is highly likely that it will be renovated, re-renovated or, even worse, demolished and end up in a landfill.
For example, within less than one generation, one of our client parishes had to go through a major re-renovation to make their sanctuary more appealing to the Catholic Imagination.
Not being attentive to the Catholic Imagination, the choir loft was placed on top of the tabernacle.
Our design relocated the choir loft, drastically improved the acoustics, lifted the ceiling to the heavens, and added an iconically filled apse around the Tabernacle. All of this helped to signify the real presence in the Holy Eucharist and inspire the Catholic imagination.
We Imagine Together
Immediate Interactive Design Process
"A Radically Different Approach"
Baker Architects, we take a "radically" different approach to "think better" with our clients. In fact, the client gets involved in the actual design, all in real-time.
Watch this short demonstration of the IIPD:
Our IIDP™ approach closes the traditional architect-client feedback loop. No more: meet, make changes, wait weeks for updates, meet again, make changes, wait again, meet again.
The traditional design method typically ends up with a couple of floor plan drawings and a rendering or two and limited progress.
We know we can do better!
Instead, we work interactively with you and the key players on a virtual 3D model of the church. We make changes together and see their outcomes immediately so that decisions can be made on the spot. This immediacy helps everyone become aware of the changes that were made and, more importantly, why they were made.
We host IIDP™ sessions either live and in-person sitting down with the client and building committee or stream them through Zoom meetings. Anyone from anywhere can participate.
● saves hundreds of hours
● provides immediate feedback on design decisions and changes
● involves the client far more in the design process
● updates drawings in minutes rather than weeks
● updates costs and quantity take-offs in minutes not days or weeks
● walks you through the building immediately
● stops you from having to wait weeks for an animation
● keeps the project progressing
The continuity that is afforded via the IIDP process can dramatically reduce problems, avoid scheduling issues, reduce costs, increase quality, and improve communication.
We Envision Together
We are Catholic Church Architects
It's who we are.
It's all we do.
At Baker Architects we do not just design a "space to worship in," we craft sacred dwelling places where we can encounter God.
● From fonts, to churches, to basilicas and cathedrals, no project is too small or too big
● Dr. Baker holds a Ph.D. in Catholic sacred architecture
● Over 25 years building loveable Catholic churches
● In-house artisans and artists
We are architects, artisans, and builders who care about all the details that make up a sacred place. Every soul should give glory to God in a beautiful, loveable, and sacred place.
We Build Together
Building Loveable Catholic Churches for 25 Years
What is the "Catholic Imagination"?
The Catholic Imagination is how Catholics view Creation and God's interaction with it; this centralizes around how Christ interacts with man. The Incarnation forms the bedrock of the Catholic worldview and underlies Christianity.
Over the past 25 years, our firm has worked solely for the Catholic Church. Through this experience and Dr. Baker's Ph.D. dissertation research, we have developed a set of principles that every Catholic church must have for it to be loved and endured; a Catholic church must follow the Incarnational Principal: The word became flesh, and dwelt among us. - John 1:14
From the Greek translation there are three terms that we can use to understand what the incarnation has to do with sacred architecture:
Logos ● Sarx ● Eskēnōsen
Word ● Flesh ● Dwell with us
Therefore, the Incarnational Principle speaks to the use of a material reality that can communicate and mediate the spiritual world, thereby allowing us to know God more perfectly. This allows for a Catholic church to be sacramental. The Incarnation of the Son forms the bedrock that underlies the Catholic worldview of the relationship between God and man. Grace penetrates nature; Creation is good.
Order, word, eternal, structure, stability, logic, light
Flesh, radiance, color, texture, matter, complexity, mystery, ornament
To dwell with us, figure, personhood, cultural heritage, proportionality