Page 11, 5th August 2005

5th August 2005
Page 11
Page 11, 5th August 2005 — 50 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK

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The church at Ronchamp by Le Corbusier raises the important question of the Church’s attitude to ecclesiastical architecture.

In this age of architectural barrenness it is very disturbing to note that the Church in some countries is casting a benevolent eye on the protagonists of “Contemporary” architecture who attempt only the novel and sensational, neither of these qualities being necessary to the creation of a work of architecture.

In ages past man’s noblest sentiments were expressed in their churches, which were built by men versed in the theories of proportion, scale, craftsmanship and the correct use of materials.

Most “Contemporary” architects are handicapped in that their education falls far short of what was considered essential by their prede cessors. They are taught to look at past works of architecture purely from the historical standpoint, having little or no relevance to present-day problems and are encouraged to use their own imagination, the source of which can usually be traced in the current issues of the glossiest magazines...

For crudeness of detail, misuse of materials, cheap sensationalism and the complete ignorance of the value of scale, the majority of “Contemporary” architecture can only be compared with the worst of Victorianism... The Church should insist on the best in her buildings and not be content with the third-rate, even thought they might be designed by famous architects.

From The Catholic Herald, August 5, 1955

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