Building a church we have to deal with bending the space-time – in such case we not only like well-known melodies, but we consider them as the only right ones, the rest is heretical, diabolic, yuck yuck! The problem with the vision of sacral object is inseparably conneted with modernizing religions issue which, as we all know, is still in preparation phase. How to satisfy thousands of customers not being a stylistic cheater? Such doubts Shakespeare summarises with a sentence: that is the question.
Sacral architecture is a highly ungrateful branch. Ungrateful because of thickheaded investors, only one correct vision rooted in human brains and the most important fact that we will have absolutely no impact on how our church will be developing. Which means wooden bell-tower or gigantic Archangel Gabriel carved in granite choosen by loony priest. During designing process we are manoeuvring between animal instincts, ancient traditions, folk nature and kitsch, that finally we are able to leave building site with a shield in our hand and emotinally look ahead to the future of our faith. (hahaha)
RW Concrete Church is one of the options how modern church can look like. Simple and uninstrusive which is the opposite of flowery altars. The very beginning of its history is interesting: it was built in newly developing district which means denying elementary, canonical rules of creating architecture based on a context. In this case already existed church is a point of reference, urban fabric and housing areas will be evolving around it. Religious analogies are screaming.
The basic material is concrete, which was used to create a construction and finishing. It suggests durability, solidity as a metaphor for religious values in unpredictible world. It also shows materiality as human reality feature in contrast to faith abstraction. Concrete in such amount creates a tough image which differs from well-known classicising or neo-gothic objects – it leaves many things unsaid, makes way for individual interpretations. Also using cross motifs is illiteral – to its shape refer bell-tower, window divisions and the top of the tower.
Not only does a form differ from traditional version of a church but also its functional program. The building was lifted on pillars to open an area on a ground floor and enlarge a landscape. It is a flexible space for community meetings and dialogue with different religions. There is a little bit dark and continuation of this darkness is the closed staircase which brings us to the second floor where we are facing light and open space. It is a 6m cantilever with large glazing, something like a viewpoint. It creates physical and spiritual transition between reality, daily routine and religion – the most important fact is that this is the only way to go to the chapel. It’s a perfect example of ecouraging people’s emotions without using unnecessary decoration.
On the same floor there is the main chapel. Its simple, even tough finishing evokes feeling of calm and concentration. It is a large open space on a little bit steep slope – benches are placed as in a theatre. The only windows are very thin and horizontal through which seep alive streams of light.
The church despite serving sacral function is also an administration building: on a highest level there are offices and meeting rooms. Under main chapel there is a smaller one and a cafeteria, in the basement there is restaurant and education rooms. The whole object serves also sanitary needs, which isn’t that obvious in traditional buildings. And now we’re facing another controversion – does such combination of functions lower the value of sacred place, defame celebrating mysteries or increase attractiveness of an object? And an essential question: does a church should be treated in a different way than other public buildings?
Such sensitive issues, where it is very easy to find both staunch supporters and opponents, every answer is a shot in the knee. I am very attached to my limb so I leave it open. And at the end painful return to reality. FOR THE BRAVE
Forever and ever Amen.