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Posts tagged "Architecture"


Shaping the Future

The following was originally delivered as a keynote at the 149th Annual Episcopal Diocesan Convention in Harrisburg, PA. SHAPE is a verb and a noun. I shape buildings every day. So I verb-shape to make noun-shapes. I am a Christian, too. Over the last 40 years, I have designed and worked on worship spaces. But […]

Is Nothing Sacred?

When a part of Notre Dame Cathedral burned, there was an instant, worldwide flood of money inundating a Catholic place of worship. And a national icon. And a place of romance. But more than that, Notre Dame is, by design and history, sacred. Would the Paris Opera House in flames evoke the gut-crushing pain of […]

Rebuilding What We Never Made: Notre Dame

Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. (Matthew 17:4) Those tabernacles were the best way that St. Peter could fully express his love of Jesus. But […]

The Sermon in Stone at Notre Dame

Notre Dame has burned. The cathedral had — “had,” how terrible to write — one of the oldest surviving wood frames in Paris’ history, comprising 52 acres of trees. Workers cut those trees down in the 12th century and made the beams. Each beam required the wood of a whole tree. The intricate lattice of […]

I Am Not Karl Lagerfeld

A man who designed things died this week, but what ended was his central, lifelong design: himself. I design things every day, but I am completely clueless about my own design. Death imposes reflection on us, whether we like it or not. So when I see a person pass away who was virtually a cartoon of […]

A Message From Jesus

It had been a long night. Two hundred people in a room, some yelling, half walking out. Two hours of presentation, justification, recrimination. It was perhaps the 200th meeting in 30 years of trying to make things happen, with about a 50% success rate. At the advent of my career as an architect, I knew […]

Failure

It is inevitable: some things sometimes do not work out. Who loves control more than an architect? I have been one of those for 40 years, with 800 things built. But we’ve started over 1,000. We, I, failed over 200 times to build what we were designing. Today, I lost the chance to work with […]

Look at that Pulpit! Thoughts on Gibside Chapel, Church Architecture, and the Subconscious

I recently visited Gibside Chapel, a late 18th century country chapel near my house in Durham, UK. I’ve seen a lot of churches in my life, but this one stands apart as utterly unique. From the moment of walking in you see this imposingly tall and beautiful three-tiered, central pulpit and sounding board. It stands […]