Category : Architecture

(WSJ) Tom Freudenheim–The Cardboard Cathedral: An Architectural Resurrection Story

In Christchurch, New Zealand, one of the world’s most unprepossessing contemporary churches manages to be among the most spectacular and celebrated. Colloquially called the “Cardboard Cathedral”—officially, Transitional Cathedral—the potentially temporary structure was designed by Shigeru Ban (b. 1957), the 2014 Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect. Mr. Ban—who combined his native training with graduate work at New York’s Cooper Union, where he was strongly influenced by his professor John Hejduk’s revisionist views of modernism—has been celebrated for his use of unusual materials in creating buildings that can be rapidly constructed following disasters. He has also designed more conventional projects: the Japanese Pavilion for Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany, and a couple of museums (Centre Pompidou-Metz in France and the Aspen Art Museum in the U.S.).

The Christchurch project, which Mr. Ban worked on pro bono, came about after the 2011 earthquake severely damaged Anglican Christchurch Cathedral (1864-1904), rendering it unusable for liturgical purposes—a partial ruin, subject to disagreements about whether to restore and rebuild or start from scratch. The new structure is a few blocks away, on the site of another church destroyed by the earthquake. A court decision—insurance money couldn’t pay the costs of a temporary building—made private fundraising necessary (about $5 million, including overruns). Dedicated in August 2013, its modest exterior hides a majestic interior. Is it a large A-frame house, oddly misplaced in mid-city? But the church also appears descended from the hall churches of the late Middle Ages, whose radical design shift created wide-open spaces, less encumbered by the massive basilica columns that impeded sight lines, with interiors more useful as preaching churches, a development especially important with the growth of Protestantism in the 16th century.

Architecture’s tenet “truth to material” spans fields as disparate as the Arts and Crafts movement and brutalism, but Mr. Ban’s church suggests new by-ways of this principle.

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Posted in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia, Architecture, Art, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(Church Times) Death of cathedrals: reports ‘have been exaggerated’

Suggestions that as many as half the 42 Church of England cathedrals are in danger of closing as a result of continuing financial mismanagement have been dismissed by the Bishop of Stepney, the Rt Revd Adrian Newman.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, called the stories “grossly erroneous”.

Dean Dorber was speaking during the three-day annual conference of deans, in London this week. “There are financial stresses but these are not new,” he said. “I am optimistic, but there is panic in high places, and we need calm rational discussion rather than public hand-wringing.”

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Posted in Architecture, Art, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Sun Telegraph) 1/2 of England’s Anglican cathedrals could close amid funding crisis

Anglican cathedrals could be forced to charge for entry or face closure, amid dwindling public funding and expensive running costs.

Financial crisis is threatening the future of half of England’s Anglican cathedrals, the chairman of a new working group has warned.

Currently just nine of the 42 cathedrals charge for entry, but that could change amid severe financial difficulties.

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Posted in Architecture, England / UK, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(The Observer) Anglicans launch rescue bid as England’s finest cathedrals battle a financial crisis

The Church of England has launched an investigation into the running of cathedrals, as financial crises threaten the future of some of the country’s most cherished buildings.

As Christians prepare to mark Holy Week and celebrate Easter Sunday, Anglican leaders have become increasingly concerned about reports of staff sacked, heavy debts accumulated and assets sold off.

On Monday the church will announce the 12 members of a working party ordered by the archbishops of Canterbury and York, Justin Welby and John Sentamu, to look into the way cathedrals are governed, their accountability and how financial decisions are made. The working party will include financial specialists and other experts and will be chaired by the bishop of Stepney, Adrian Newman, with the dean of York, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull, as deputy chair.

The inquiry has been prompted by a recent report into the financial problems at Peterborough cathedral, where difficulties had led to the departure of the dean and the risk that the church might be unable to pay staff their salaries. A loan from the Church Commissioners helped deal with the immediate shortfall for the 12th-century former Benedictine abbey, housing Catherine of Aragon’s tomb, but 12 staff were made redundant.

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Posted in Architecture, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

I Really Enjoyed Seeing Chester Cathedral this Morning

Posted in Architecture, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Travel

(FT) England’s churches warn over loss of lottery repair ticket

They are among the country’s most treasured and historic buildings, but England’s listed churches are about to lose the dedicated state funding they have relied on for four decades.

Next week, the Heritage Lottery Fund will announce that it is scrapping its £25m Grants for Places of Worship fund as of 2018. Money for the maintenance of church buildings will instead come out of its overall heritage programme, which supports everything from industrial buildings to neolithic standing stones.

The HLF, part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, said church organisations would still be able to apply for funding for repairs and it would “target” a similar amount of spending for churches and other religious buildings.

But Becky Clark, secretary of the Church of England’s church buildings council, said previous funding levels were no longer guaranteed.

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Posted in Architecture, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Liverpool Cathedral just awe inspiring!

Posted in Architecture, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Travel

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Ralph Adams Cram, John LaFarge and Richard Upjohn

Gracious God, we offer thanks for the vision of Ralph Adams Cram, John LaFarge and Richard Upjohn, whose harmonious revival of the Gothic enriched our churches with a sacramental understanding of reality in the face of secular materialism; and we pray that we may honor thy gifts of the beauty of holiness given through them, for the glory of Jesus Christ; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Architecture, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

(C of E) New Director of Churches and Cathedrals announced

Becky Clark has been appointed to be the new Director of Churches and Cathedrals for the Archbishops’ Council. Becky has been Senior Cathedrals Officer and Deputy Secretary of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission since 2013. Prior to starting this role she worked at English Heritage, Surrey County Council and the National Trust.

In her new role Becky will be Secretary to both the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE) and Church Buildings Council (CBC) as well as a member of the Archbishops’ Council senior management team and the NCI Senior Leadership Group (SLG).

Secretary General, William Nye, said: ‘I know that Becky’s wealth of experience working in the heritage sector, leadership qualities, personal faith and her commitment to church buildings, equip her admirably to support the Church as it is transformed through Renewal and Reform.’

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Architecture, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Economist Erasmus Blog) A new Orthodox church next to the Eiffel Tower boosts Russian soft power

The skyline of Paris has just acquired yet another arresting feature. Only a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, a spanking new Russian Orthodox cathedral, complete with five onion domes and a cultural centre, was inaugurated on December 4th by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, amid sonorous rhetoric about the long and chequered history of the Russian diaspora in France.

To secular observers, this was the latest success for Russian soft power, showing that even in times when intergovernmental relations are frosty, ecclesiastical relations can still forge ahead. In October, Patriarch Kirill reconsecrated the Russian cathedral in London and had a brief meeting with the supreme governor of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth; this was a more cordial chat than any conversation the political leaders of Britain and Russia have had recently.

The new temple in Paris was, in a sense, both a product and a hostage of secular politics. Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s then-president, agreed to its construction, with Russian funds, back in 2007 as a good-will gesture to Russia. Plans to turn the cathedral’s opening into a moment of diplomatic togetherness, attended by the French and Russian presidents, foundered after the countries’ row over Syria sharpened. But nothing prevented Patriarch Kirill from inaugurating the new house of prayer, with French cultural figures like the singer Mireille Matthieu in attendance.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Architecture, Europe, France, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Russia, Urban/City Life and Issues

Television recomendation–CNBC's Ground Zero Rising: Freedom vs. Fear

I finally got to Ground Zero Rising: Freedom vs. Fear hosted by Jim Cramer; its very worthwhile–put it on your list.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Architecture, History, Movies & Television, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

(History in Pictures) Construction of The Twin Towers, 1970

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Architecture, History, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

(BBC) Cash concerns for England's Anglican cathedrals

Almost two-thirds of those running England’s Anglican cathedrals are concerned about their finances, a BBC survey suggests.

Of the 38 cathedrals who responded fully, 26 said they were “worried” or “very worried” about the future.

Last year, the Church of England gave £8.3m to the historic buildings but the cash does not cover all of their needs.

Some cathedrals are now looking to new ways of fundraising including hiring the buildings out as venues.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Architecture, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Urban/City Life and Issues

Christopher Howse on Winged angels carved on the beams of churches in East Anglia

Those who like angels ”“ and they’re popular at the moment ”“ have had a rolling feast of the creatures this week, with the Guardian Angels commemorated yesterday and a separate red letter day earlier in the week ”“ Michaelmas. Michaelmas is not about daisies. It honours St Michael, no man but the prince of the heavenly host of angels.

I celebrated by devouring The Angel Roofs of East Anglia by Michael Rimmer (Lutterworth, £19.95), enjoying the astonishing colour photographs. The book’s subtitle is Unseen Masterpieces of the Middle Ages, which may sound odd, since the carved angels have been on show for 600 years. But is quite accurate, since they are mostly so far above ground level and badly lit that only a telephoto digital camera can catch the true details.
People who use Twitter might know Michael Rimmer’s Angel Roofs account that since 2012 has shown the progress of his work recording the riches of East Anglian timber church roofs aflutter with angels. It’s a peculiarly English glory, and of the 170 or so angel roofs that survive, about 120 are in East Anglia.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Architecture, Art, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK

Launch of major new report on how the C of E manages its 16,000 church buildings

As part of its Reform and Renewal programme, which was debated in the General Synod in February, the Church of England has today published a report and launched a consultation on proposals to improve the support for its 16,000 church buildings.

The report comes from the Church Buildings review group, which was chaired by the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd Dr John Inge. It constitutes the first attempt in many years to undertake a comprehensive review of the Church of England’s stewardship of its church buildings and includes a wide range of statistics, a substantial theological reflection and a survey of various initiatives being taken in individual dioceses. The report goes on to identify a number of principles that should shape the Church’s approach and makes some specific recommendations.

The review notes that more than three quarters of the Church of England’s churches are listed, and the Church of England is responsible for nearly half of the grade I listed buildings in England. More than half of churches are in rural areas (where 17% of the population lives) and more than 90% of these are listed.

Read it all and follow the link to the full report.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Architecture, Art, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology