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Architecture for the Gods.

CROSBIE, Michael J.

2 valoraciones por Goodreads
ISBN 10: 186470005X / ISBN 13: 9781864700053
Editorial: Images Publishing,, Mulgrave:, 1999
Condición: Fine Encuadernación de tapa dura
Librería: Grendel Books, ABAA/ILAB (West Chesterfield, MA, Estados Unidos de America)

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Color photographs throughout. First edition. Fine in a fine dust jacket. N° de ref. de la librería 57947

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Detalles bibliográficos

Título: Architecture for the Gods.

Editorial: Images Publishing,, Mulgrave:

Año de publicación: 1999

Encuadernación: Hardcover

Condición del libro:Fine

Condición de la sobrecubierta: Fine

Edición: 1st Edition

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This book presents the best in new religious architecture, filled with photographs and drawings that explain how each project fulfills the design requirements of various faiths.
More than 40 projects are included, representing a range of faiths: Christian, Jewish, and Islamic. Among the projects is the work of such internationally known architects as Steven Holl, Ricardo Legoretta, Gunnar Birkerts, James Stewart Polshek, Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Charles Moore.
Each project is presented with colorful photographs, plans, sections, and diagrams that explain the nature of the sacred space. Project descriptions concentrate on the specific needs of the congregation and its traditions, how the building responds to the identity of the church, and how that identity is articulated to the community at large. This book is a valuable resource on recent religious architectural design.


If this is architecture for the gods, the gods must be groaning. Not to say that this big, handsome paperback look at more than 40 recent faith-centered architectural projects around the U.S.--complete with full-color photographs, plans, and excellent annotations--doesn't make it amply and diversely clear that there has been a boom in America in recent years in the building of churches, synagogues, mosques, and nondenominational chapels. And certainly not to say that architects aren't finding all sorts of clever ways to update religious iconography for modern times, or combine traditional and contemporary architectural styles under one roof--be it deeply pitched, in the style of the classic country church (like the new St. James Episcopal Church in Fairhope, AL, whose heart-redwood boards, painted bone-white, evoke the region's charming Gulf Coast carpenter-Gothic style), or domed (like Skidmore Owings & Merrill's high-profile Islamic Cultural Center, the first mosque for New York City's sizable Muslim population, skewed on its site to face Mecca, as required by Muslim law, and complete with its own dramatic, postmodern minaret of square, terra-cotta-colored panels).

It's just that many of these sacred edifices aim so hard for contemporaneity or flexibility of use that they look like anything but houses of worship. Here, we have a low-slung, multivolume light brick Presbyterian church in Baltimore that looks like an Eisenhower-era public high school; there, the Metropolitan Community Church in Washington, D.C., whose enormous rainbow flag is the only thing that tips you off that this is the first American church (and not a huge gymnasium or sports arena) to have been built by a gay congregation. Certainly, no one could be serious about worship in the Gethsemane Episcopal Cathedral, in Fargo, ND, which resembles a hideous hybrid of a whitewashed grain silo and one of those garish "luxury homes"--complete with a multitude of LEGO-like gables and picture windows--that you see cropping up on (sadly) tree-shorn lots in suburban subdivisions across America. Strip the interiors of most of these projects of the telltale cross, Magen David, or what have you, and the overwhelming effect seems to be that of a spanking new auditorium--all outfitted in blond wood and gray slate--appropriate for a multitude of uses, but special to none.

With their skyward-reaching spires and far-flying buttresses, onion-shaped domes and slender towers--even (in the case of early Protestant America) their handsome, strong-limbed austerity--houses of worship once were stunning expressions of human artistry and effort in the name of the divine. It's no wonder, then, that amidst the (at best) "tasteful" palette of present-day ordinariness that's showcased here the most spiritual of entries seem to be the quirkiest or most outrageous. To wit, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Temple in Independence, MO, with its psychedelic, illuminated spire that spirals up into the heavens like a Dairy Queen soft-serve cone; a tiny grotto-like chapel that overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Sea Ranch, CA, its rustic, weirdly curved stone flanks and shingled-wood roof rising from the land like Corbu's cathedral at Ronchamps, France (had it been scaled and styled for a Hobbit); and the San Juan Bautista Mission, which was built on a shoestring budget by a group of parishioners, professionals, and residents of the mostly poor Latin American neighborhood in Miami in which it sits like a little jewel from old Havana. Inside, the cherubim that are depicted on a lovely ceiling fresco easily could be all of the many-hued children of 21st-century Miami, so matter-of-factly does the image assume, and attain, contemporaneity. It's one of the few instances in this nonetheless substantive, stylish, and engaging book in which the creativity, expressiveness, and sense of wonderment that the gods gave us in the first place haven't been sacrificed to the blandly mortal demands of modernity. --Timothy Murphy

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