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Sivosten webZine :: Modernistic "Church" Architecture
Modernistic "Church" Architecture

Author: Lyuben "LifeJoker" Zagorchev, Monday, 08 September 2008.

In Articles :: Popular; Propose a Second Opinion

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The aesthetic perceptions of some of Sofias more conservative inhabitants have recently been confused by the catholic St. Joseph cathedral, which was built not far away from the Trade (Centre) Universal Department (TcUM). Many people find the new building too \'modernistic\', \'eccentric\' and even too \'ugly\'. Actually, there are even more so strange-looking cathedrals all over the world. The Roman Catholics seem to be most progressive in this field. Here are some of the most striking examples of modern church architecture.

Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida or in other words, the Brazilian Municipal cathedral is perhaps the jewel in the crown of modernistic church architecture. Its architect, Oscar Niemeyer, planned the biggest part of the Brazilian capital as well. The Cathedral was consecrated in 1970. It is a hyperboloid, shaped like two hands reaching for the sky. Although it looks eccentric, to say the least, it is completely in harmony with the spirit of the modernized city, which has been built with the sole purpose to serve as capitol.

Brazil also boasts several other exotic cathedrals. The one in Rio de Janeiro strikes one\'s attention with its look of a Soviet palace of culture. Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro is the residence of Rio\'s arch-bishop. Opened for service in 1979, it was built to replace a complex of old churches. The pyramid-shaped building dominates the center of the city with its height of 75 meters. The belfry, which looks like a climbing tower in front of the main building, is a veritable challenge to the aesthetic senses.

The third Brazilian example is the Catedral Basilica Menor Nossa Senhora da Gloria, or simply Catedral de Maringa the third biggest city in the state of Parana. With its height of 124 meters it ranks first in South America. The cone-shape building was designed by Jos Augusto Bellucci, who admitted that he was inspired by the Soviet sputnik satellites. To tell the truth, one expects this building to take off any moment now, thus proving the theory of hidden UFOs.

Nicaragua, with its strong religious beliefs, does not fall behind. Since the old Managua cathedral was irreversibly destroyed, the construction of a new cathedral designed by Ricardo Legarreta started in 1991. The complex quadrangle building, covered with a block of domes, reminds one rather of a Moroccan village than of a mouthpiece of God to His worshippers. Its modernistic design has created a number of opponents who rather defy the \"pure conception\" of the building. The translation of Catedral Metropolitana de la Purisima Concepcion means exactly this.

The US does not linger behind, although the Garden Grove Crystal Cathedral is a protestant church. It\'s built entirely out of glass panes, though this should not bother worshippers. It was designed by Philip Johnson to withstand an earthquake of magnitude 8.0. This, however, does not change the fact that it looks like a super-modern mall center.

Old Europe does not intend to drop behind in this race. Hallgrimskirkja, for example, is one of the main sights in the capital of Iceland Reykjavk. To some extent its appearance resembles the classic church architecture blended with Nordic simplicity. Despite its modernistic elements it might fool the casual tourist about its age. Like most of the above-mentioned churches it dates back the end of the 19th century.

As a result of the Renaissance, which was recently revived among English Catholics, two of the weirdest buildings are in Shakespeares homeland. The Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King is something in between the Rio and the Brasilia city churches or, in other words, a hybrid of pyramid and chimney. There is even a construction resembling Jesus Christ\'s crown of thorns on the top of it.

There is the Westminster Cathedral in London. It\'s a bright, colorful building whose design is believed to have been inspired from the Byzantine architecture. It looks very much like a mosque with a belfry cutting the air. In 1910 it was opened for service, and serves as residence for the Westminster arch-bishop. It is not to be mistaken for the Anglican Westminster Abby, though.

Nevertheless, the most famous cathedral is the unfinished Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. It is the apex of architecture genius Antoni Gauds career. The complex design, which reminds one of an organ with its numerous ornaments and all the construction cranes in the background, is one symbol of the Catalonian city which attacks millions of tourists every year all by itself.

Of course, we could give tenths to other examples of modernistic architecture in Latin America, in particular, but the above mentioned are enough to demonstrate the progressive ideas of the Holy Church for what churches should look like.

Translated by M. Kotseva

Commentary topic: http://www.sivosten.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=207848#207848

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