Making Sacred Space

Many recently-built churches are ugly as sin. Others are wonderful as form but don’t work well functionally or symbolically. Most are just boring. How it can be that, having been the avant garde of design and engineering for almost two thousand years, church design today has so declined? A major cause is the lack of productive dialogue between the client and the architect due to mutual ignorance of each other’s culture and values. This course intends to address that gap so that you, the designer, have a greater voice in the decision process. Because of that aim, in this course church design is approached primarily from the client/user point of view. The course also furnishes you with a dossier of written and visual materials relevant for professional practice in this area today. Lectures cover cultural, historical, theological, and aesthetic aspects of church design. While most of our examples are either modern or contemporary structures, the course includes churches from every period of western European history in order to furnish you with alternative models for how particular design problems may be resolved. These are not intended as paradigms to be repeated, but rather as seeds for new ideas. In this course, Christianity is considered as culture, not as creed.