Bezalel's Compass

July 20, 2013

Liturgy, Architecture and Theology

“Liturgy is a splendid NT word that carries a wealth of meaning, all of which is bound up with the idea of service to God. It is applied to the priests, the offerings, the vessels of the temple used in the service of God (Luke 1:23, Heb. 9:21),  the “sacrificial service” (Phil 2:17), and the service of officers of the Church. That this evensongword liturgy should come to be used of worship indicates the importance with which worship was rightly held as service! But the service of worship must be governed not by tradition, let alone by aesthetics, but by theology. Thus Conrad H. Massa has well said that for the Reformers “the liturgy of the Church was the working out of its theology in the activity of corporate worship.” Thus, there is a propriety in speaking, as does Hammond, of “liturgy and architecture,” and meaning very much the same as “theology and architecture.” Architecture, however, must be liturgy (i.e., service to God) in working out the theology of a church [building] in its physical structure. Just as liturgy is theology in action, so architecture is theology in material structure. Thus liturgy seems a word more appropriate to describe the role of architecture, rather than its underlying basis. Both architecture and liturgy must be determined by theology”. -Bruggink and Droppers, Christ and Architecture

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July 19, 2013

Christ and Architecture

Geneva“The situation of the Presbyterian/ Reformed churches in America is very much akin to that of the Church of England, so well described by Peter Hammond (in Liturgy and Architecture, 1960). Like the Anglicans, we have simply not given enough thought to our to our theology in relation to church architecture. Unlike the Church of England, however, we are not imitating the “traditional” churches of an earlier age; rather, we are being tossed about on a shifting sea of eclectic borrowings. This situation will continue until we are willing to give some very serious thought to our understanding of the relationship between gospel and architecture. If the gospel and its proclamations are important, and if architecture can proclaim the gospel in a significant way, then we must consider with absolute seriousness its architectural proclamation” -Bruggink.

If art is a language endowed with meaning, how has church architecture proclaimed the gospel to you?

In response to the quote above, I present to you G.K. Beale’s “The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The church building where Calvin preached in Geneva

March 2, 2013

St. Francis Xavier

Filed under: Architecture, Art — Tags: , , , — Eric G. Ivers @ 3:01 am

St Francis, Stillwater OKThis is a recent collaborative project between Hord Architects, Franck & Loshen for a new church in Stillwater, Oklahoma. With 45,000 square feet housing a sanctuary, chapel, parish hall, school and administration while perched upon a high rising bluff, it literally is a city set upon a hill for the local community to comprehend and appreciate. Kudos to my associate Matthew Lee for an great rendering. This will be an eventful week!

February 26, 2013

John Calvin, Decorum and Church Architecture

John Calvin wrote, “Decorum ought to be observed in the sacred assemblies” (Commentary on I Corinthians). According to Calvin, the chief principle governing public worship is decorum, a concept that describes how we are to behave, dress, and, I would add, build. For Calvin, decorum is a general principle that includes qualities such as propriety, gracefulness, dignity and, yes, beauty. Indeed, these are the qualities that should be sought in church architecture…

…The dignity, decorum, and beauty that we seek in designing places for public worship should extend also to the external witness of the church. We must not forget that, besides being a gathered body of believers, the local church is also an earthly institution. Like all civic and commercial institutions, when churches construct buildings, they are building public statements about their identity. In other words, all buildings—whether art museums, gas stations, big-box retailers, or churches—bear witness to the institutions they serve. – Reforming Church Architecture, David Gobel

January 7, 2013

Essence of Christian Architecture

How we worship effects and shapes how we live. What then should we expect of christian architecture to support our thanksgiving? Some basic principles should guide how we think churches ought to be (and look like) churches…and enunciate the testimony of Christ’s kingdom on earth and as it is in heaven.

1) A church should have verticality – it reorientates our vision towards Christ enthroned and His majesty over the horizon of our earthly being.
2) A church should be durable – it proclaims that Christ’s kingdom is established, is meaningful and here for the long haul.
3) A church should be objectively beautiful – it’s a glorious thing He has done. The re-creation of our fallen world inaugurated at the cross and its final eskaton is provided as a glimpse during the act of corporate worship.

If your or your church is striving toward this end…lets talk. Its a conversation I’m passionate about. Art is fundamentally a creation in community and ultimately a reflection of our theology. More on this in near future posts.

December 11, 2012

Crossroads Baptist Church

Crossroads Baptist This project is currently in the design development phase. It is a church commission in the greater Memphis area built in the Georgian manner of early American architecture. The 30,000 square foot campus consists of a sanctuary for 500 people, classrooms and a great hall. The project will built in two phases with ground breaking scheduled for early 2013. This rendering depicts the first phase of the building project.

December 7, 2012

Word of Mouth and a Residence for Eastern Washington

Filed under: Architecture — Tags: , , , — Eric G. Ivers @ 4:52 am

Hoyt ResidenceWord of mouth pays and remains the most reliable form of marketing. Nothing sells a firm better than happy customers and good relationships. Still, two and a half years after leaving the great Pacific Northwest, I still get calls for commissions to design residences (and recently churches!). Evidently good architecture, that embraces the traditional forms and methods of history, makes lasting impressions on sensible people. This rendering is a project in eastern Washington whose contract drawings were completed over the summer. I try not to miss the opportunity to visit the Inland Northwest any chance that makes itself available.

Imagin(ing) Christ

Filed under: Architecture, Art, Drawing on Life — Tags: , , — Eric G. Ivers @ 2:25 am

There are few churches that do not contain images of Jesus incarnated. Either in stain glass, on the walls, in paintings, in statues, crucifixes, or as the church building itself. Its a benefit of the incarnation, we saw Him and beheld His glory. Idolatry is found not in the portraying of Christ as such, but in the worship of the medium in which He was communicated. Sometimes the images are rightly torn down to remind us of the proper telos for the image.

September 19, 2012

What is Classical Architecture?

Filed under: Architecture, Education of an architect — Tags: , , — Eric G. Ivers @ 1:58 am

Definitions are known to be ambiguous and are often tied to usage in particular group settings. For example, what is classical architecture? The term “classical” can be used in a variety of ways. As an example, one might say, “I like classical architecture”. Does this suggest an analogous relationship to classical literature and classical philosophy, and accordingly denote a specific historical and geographic context, namely the high period of academia of both Greece and Rome? Or is all architecture throughout time subsequent to the Greco-Roman period that makes specific reference to those precedents what we mean by classical? Or lastly, do we mean, apart from its historic and geographic grounding, the underlying and formal principles that make up a specific canon of architecture of which Greco-Roman architecture participated in. All three uses are common parlance and in need of more refined clarity.

September 18, 2012

Choir of Angels

Where should a choir be stationed in a church? Should the choir be visible? In a loft? In the background supporting the congregation? Up front and center?  When I was in Venice during Pentecost at San Marco, I was slack jawed at the choir of angels that sang from an invisible “beyond”. Unseen, the choir pulled the congregation of the temporal faithful into the realm of the eternal. The call of holy communion was administered within and among the incorporeal church militant. This is the power of art that stops time. How else might architecture affect how we  worship?

San Marco, Venice

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