Matthew Alderman joined the community last week and posted his designs for the University of Wisconson's Catholic Center. I'm curious how many of us promptly started researching graduate degrees there, because DAMN. This Church is going to be impressive. College students generally get the dregs in terms of Church architecture, but this is going to be an incredible gift to the students there and all of the surrounding neighborhood. I would travel at LEAST 45 minutes to go to mass in this building.
I'm not an architect, so I do not have the credibility to critique this building from that field of competence, but I will say this: If our Churches look and feel like shopping malls, UFO's, or Unitarian Universalist "churches" our evangelization efforts will be sluggish and poor at best. Our experience of Mass is the PRIMARY place where we live out our faith. I'm becoming more and more convinced every Sunday that I go to mass that our parish buildings are the starting point for good liturgy. Architecture affects absolutely everything. Have you ever been to a modern Church in the round where they tried to do Gregorian Chant? It falls on its face. Ever been to any of the Triduum floor at a church sanctuary with a carpeted floor and lit by floodlights? No matter how spiritually rich the liturgy is, if it is encased in a building that inherently contradicts the liturgy's meaning, it is going to feel empty.
I'm not saying that God is not present or that the Priests holiness or the musician's prayer doesn't matter. I'm just saying that the experience of God will be greatly impaired when the building's grammar denies the truth that is present in the liturgy.
That is why I'm so excited for to see the people at the University of Madison's Catholic Center investing so much into this beautiful architecture which speaks of God's grandeur and holiness, of the wonder of heaven, and the glory of the Paschal Mystery. Matthew, great work. We're excited to see more!
Creation of the Week by Marcellino D'Ambrosio
CoFounder of Catholic Creatives