Today I watched a documentary “Building in the Name of God” on History Channel. I already knew many facts mentioned in the program, but I did learn something new and enjoyed watching the construction process in 3D reproduction. Michelangelo alone spent his last 18 years working on St. Peter’s Basilica, but it takes hundreds of years to finish such projects. More importantly, design of the interior space changed dramatically over the centuries.
These cathedrals were highlighted in the program:
- Hagia Sophia
- Notre Dame, Paris
- St. Peter’s Basilica
- Sagrada Familia Make sure to visit the official website detailing the unique design of the cathedral.
- Crystal Cathedral
One of the challenges of the cathedral architects was to allow as much light passage as possible, while preserving integrity of the structure. This task was accomplished by implementing ridged vaults, flying buttresses, and canary arches among other things. However, one of the most important aspects is design of an experience.
Crystal Cathedral might have achieved the goal of exposing visitors to light, but its interior feels quite different from other cathedral spaces. Although it seems to serve the original goal of its creator, it is not a cathedral I would want to visit. The atmosphere of such structures should be conductive of contemplation and communication with God, without any distractions and somewhat isolated from hassles of everyday life.
Related Post: Moshe Safdie: What makes a building unique?