Saturday, November 10, 2007

No one asked me...

...but I was wasting some time reading Whispers in the Loggia about two dioceses in the U.S. are building new cathedrals: Houston and Oakland.

Oakland's project is just beginning and is dedicated to Christ the Light. You can find a virtual tour here.

Exterior sketch:

Interior sketch:

Estimated cost: 131 million
Estimated capacity: 1500

The Archdiocese of Houston/Galveston has completed their new co-Cathedral for Houston. It will be dedicated to the Sacred Heart and consecrated on April 2nd, 2008.

Exterior photo:

Interior Sketches:

Estimated cost: 40 million initial
Rocco lists 61 million
Estimated seating: 1800 + 200 movable chairs

Full website for Cathedral of Christ the Light.
Full website for Sacred Heart co-Cathedral homepage.

Do you have a preference?


Tom in Vegas said...

Last year I purchased from Amazon a book called New Spiritual Architecture. It shows how some of the most avant garde architecture is currently developed by the Catholic Church. Some of these structures, well...let's just say you have to have a passion for art to truly appreciate. Although falling into that modern architecture category, the Jubilee Church in Rome is quite beautiful with its symbolic display of the cross with a long corridor just above the altar. Google it and see what you think.


Tom in Vegas said...

As far as which of the two cathedrals is my favorite, I'll take the one in Houston. The Oakland one looks too much like the Crystal Cathedral. Too "Protestansy" for me.


Adoro te Devote said...

They're both awful. Sorry, but it had to be said.

There's no connection to history, other than a cross design and a crucifix thrown up.

It looks like a high-ceilinged doctor's office.

There's no true artistry, unless you happen to be in to abstract and art deco, oh, and utilitarianism. It's not something that will endure throughout history, and might instead one day be used as a sort of sports stadium or maybe an opera hall.

It's not a Cathedral, or a Basilica, but displays the worst in the current tradition of bad architecture in the Catholic Church.

How sad, the idea that the Church is being used for "nuveau" ideas. The Church should be a font of Grace, not an affirmation of humanistic secularist perfection in "art" and architecture.

You want a true Cathedral? St. Paul, Rome, Prague...go there. Designs that endure and will NEVER be mistaken for anything but what they are. Or the Hagia Sophia..stolen, but still a holy place to others.

When will the Church start utilizing architects who understand sacramentality, history, Catholic art, and the eternity of the promise of the Holy Spirit?

I'm sorry if your opinion differs because I don't mean to offend any of you, but you asked what "we" think, and I can't be anything other than blunt about the crap that's being called a "church" these days. Jesus deserves a LOT better than this stoic type of design.

With all our technology...all we can do is cement block and some beveled glass with a crucifix on top? Please.

Oakland and Houston need to read Sacrosanctum Concilium and maybe go on a real retreat somewhere.

OK, I'm done. Sorry.

Fr. Andrew said...

Glad you're thinking Adoro.

At least in Houston there is potential for more, room to grow, if you will. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Oakland...not sure about that. Ever. Actually, quite sure.

In Houston they are including identifiably Catholic components. There are devotional shrines to the saints (Martin de Porres, Anthony of Padua, Theresa (Lil' Flower? not sure) Juan Diego, Joseph, the Blessed Mother, and the Sacred Heart). Stained Glass windows of the 12 Apostles, Choirs of Angels. Though they just list these items but don't provide conceptual drawings.

The large stained glass window of our Resurrected Lord is a bit odd. And the outside is a little too beige and unadorned. But at least it is easily identifiable as a Church for the passer-by. No?

I guess these days I'm just happy it isn't shaped like a cyclone or some other abstract nightmare.

Plus, the relatively modest cost compared to Oakland's is insightful. You often hear that classical shapes/designs bring impractical costs in this day and age. At least I've heard in the context of excusing away a new church's relatively homeliness.

Adoro te Devote said...

Have you heard of the church renovation done in Olivia, MN? It was incredible. Over 1 million to renovate the little country church. All the Italian statues had been painted white, so they were repainted as they had originally been done. the walls had been painted grey, so were repainted to provide the contrast from the greyish marble columns (Italian, of course), they had experts come in to redo the frescoes on the arched ceilings, etc. Incredible. And the tab is paid for...because people won't pay for junk, but they will sacrifice for what endures.

If you're interested, when I get to work tomorrow I can send you the video segment that was sent to me. It was on KSTP, I think, or maye KARE11, but not sure which.

What an example...maybe we here in the midwest should import the wisdom that comes from the prairies.

Amazing..the people who don't have a lot have a great deal more to teach the west coast, a hub of "culture" about what culture really is, and what the value of money can really obtain. And it ain't what they're paying millions to do in the name of the Church.

Fr. Andrew said...

I saw the footage on Olivia's parish through Ray at Stella Borealis. Quite inspirational. We're planning a restoration of our Cathedral in Sioux Falls- which hopefully will be just that. Color to beige walls and painted over reliefs, but most of all some work on our sanctuary, especially altar, ambo, and cathedra.

Remember to pray for the Diocese of Madison who has to rebuild their cathedral, St. Raphael, which was burnt down a couple of years ago. Our current Bishop was rector there at the time. Hopefully Bishop Morlino won't follow Bishop Vigneron's lead.

Adoro te Devote said...


Oh, and I'd meant to say about Oakland's looks like a bleached haystack surrounded by scaffolding. Seriously...what is California's obsession with scaffolding-inspired architecture? I can just hear the mothers...."Johnney! Stop climbing on the church walls! You will be the death of me yet. Get back down here right now!"

And it looks like it's about to be set on fire. Bad stuff.

And yes, the Houston design has potential, but only if they cover the cement block with...some other material. Fine if it's a facade with the block making up the load-bearing walls, and they could add Gothic flying buttresses. The cross design built in is classical, but that design is so undermined by the "blah" of it all.

You're probably tired of hearing of my opinions.

One of the priests at my parish (where I attend, not where I work) knows better than to ask my opinion.

And I used to be such a shy child, wouldn't even greet a beloved relative, happier hiding behind Mom or Dad. What happened?


I really do pray that here in the midwest we don't lose what's left of our Catholic taste in art.

Kyle said...

To comment on Sacred Heart in Houston, the exterior is not concrete as may appear in construction photos, but is a Texas Limestone and is very fitting to the structure when seen in person. Regarding the art of the interior, there was a local news story on KTRK TV (who on a side note, have been providing very positive coverage of the Archdiocese lately) a few weeks ago which provided some good insight into the craftsmanship going into the statues, windows, etc. of the building. I take no offense at the previous comments, but wanted to make clear that this is in no way a cut rate or austere building, and it will be a very beautiful place of prayer when dedicated.