The design of a Catholic church is not just a simple aesthetic choice. It’s a significant piece of global culture, and its importance is far beyond the visually pleasing nature of traditional sacred architecture.
A Catholic church is a place of worship to God Almighty, and when we build such significant structures, it’s crucial to put the effort and time into ensuring that such structures embody the beauty and sophistication that is befitting of such a place.
It’s that beauty, and everything that went into it, that expresses our devotion to God in a physical manner.
The Catholic church is also an authoritative spiritual guide for millions of people around the globe, the traditional sacred architecture is characteristic of its identity. Without it, a Catholic church isn’t the instantly recognizable safe haven and place of worship that people rely on and look for.
CATHOLIC SENSIBILITIES IN CHURCH ARCHITECTURE
While the traditional design elements of a Catholic church are entwined with its identity, it is unfortunate that many modern Catholic churches have strayed from the Catholic sensibilities that govern traditional design elements.
A mere building made to modern design standards can of course be a place of worship, but the lack of the beauty and design principles found in traditional churches diminishes the identity of the church and affects the congregation by not exemplifying the core traits that everyone identifies within a Catholic church.
ELEMENTS OF SACRED ARCHITECTURE WE INCORPORATE
At Baker Architects, sacred architecture, the traditional architectural themes, and design details of Catholic churches, are important to our philosophy in architecture.
As such, we focus on three core principles when helping our clients construct, or otherwise plan, their church’s architecture both internally and externally.
First, there’s the Divine Order (Logos). This is the Word of God and the order in which divinity guides all things. Sacred architecture should incorporate the divine order of creativity and embody it in a visual sense.
Then, we incorporate the element of Radiant Glory of becoming a man (Sarx). This describes the radiant light of God and how it was embodied by Jesus Christ. For example, you often see bright, pure, rays depicted in the artwork and stained-glass features of traditional Catholic churches. This is crucial to designing a Catholic church that elicits a closeness to Jesus Christ and the feeling of being at home in a place of worship.
Finally, there is the element of Dwelling and to Tabernacle with humanity (eskēnōsen). John's introduction states clearly that via the incarnation, we cannot separate the divine from the physical, the spiritual from the material. Christ lifts mere humans up to dwell with God. Through artistic interpretation, Catholic churches radiate the divine logos and invites to to accept God's dwelling with us.
By incorporating these three themes, we can create an aesthetic that is not only visually appealing and befitting of a place designed to worship God but also provides functional importance by visually representing core aspects of faith.
Without these elements, in the modern churches that have seemed to stray away from our sensibilities as Catholics, a great deal of the church's identity, and its feeling of being a home to its congregation, are diminished.
WHY GO WITH BAKER ARCHITECTS?
Catholic sensibilities are not optional in a Catholic church. While many modern churches have taken on modern design themes that lack representation of our sensibilities, there is a great sense of loss because of that.
As such, you need more than just an architect to help you plan your church’s architecture and sacred architecture. You need sacred architects who truly understand the importance of incorporating core principles of Catholicism into the design of the church itself.
Baker AIA can provide that.
We focus on incorporating the three main design elements we mentioned above, and we do so with the advantages of today’s most advanced technology. This allows us to capture the visual character and integrity of traditional Catholic churches more efficiently, faster, and more precisely. In addition, we conduct professional Lidar scanning, which enhances the whole project.
HERE ARE THE EXAMPLES OF OUR WORK:
Recently, our churches have suffered from a sort of cultural amnesia, they strayed from our roots, and they lost their Catholic Sensibility.
In order for a Catholic church to appeal to the Catholic Sensibility, it must have:
A SENSE OF DIVINE ORDER
A SENSE OF RADIANT GLORY
A SENSE OF PERSONHOOD DWELLING