Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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We cannot chart the renaissance as a ‘progression’ Praxitelles?
You’ll have to explain that one

Quote from apelles:

”Many people (Joe public) & myself included don’t really understand the apparently massive void between the differing schools of thought of modernist & historical architectural thinking.. Why the pastiche is so frowned upon when the average Joe will look at it & say “my..isn’t that well done..its exactly the same as what was there before” they still appreciate it for what it is & the work that went into recreating it…I know its not pushing any new boundaries with this attitude but will there not always be an appreciation for good talented craftsmanship?…even if it is reproduction….& if so, do these craftsmen not need to be guided & inspired by the ultimate designers…Architects”.

That’s the crucial point apelles.

As may be evident on other threads, I would probably go further than most in advocating restoration, even re-construction, [Frauenkirche style] of damaged buildings and streetscapes, in addition to just ‘conservation’, but surly the limiting factor has to be: . . . what was actually there

We can’t just start making stuff up.

From the photographs posted on this site and elsewhere, there’s no question that St. Mel’s Cathedral is/was a splendid example of the last flowering of classical church architecture in Ireland.

As Praxiteles has illustrated, the design of the church, in addition to displaying superb craftsmanship, represented a magnificent interpretation of renaissance basilica design. The non-use of entablature above the columns and the springing instead of the nave arcades directly from the ironic capitals is a very effective piece of design that very cleverly combines the early renaissance work of Michelozzo and others with the archaeologically correct capital detail of Greek revival classicism.

Personally, I don’t know enough about 19th/20th century church architecture to know whether this is very special, or just bloody good. I could be ignorant of dozens of similar churches that these architects lifted the design from, but even if they did, I’ll bet they still progressed the architecture, developed the themes, and refined the details. The central point is that these people were still operating within a living tradition and in St. Mel’s Cathedral, they created a magnificent work that is clearly ‘of it’s time’.

Classicism survived the pick-n-mix eclecticism of the 19th century and it re-emerged, in a sober form, as the style of choice for churches, bank branches and public buildings in the 20th century, as a civic counterpoint to the homeliness of the Arts + Crafts movement. What killed it was a combination of the emergence of the Modern Movement and the reactionary adoption of classicism to serve the monumental tendencies of the fascists.

For all the scorn that is rightly poured on post-modernism, at least that movement offered a re-interpretation of classicism that focussed on the ironic possibilities, rather than the even more superficial flicking back to an earlier chapter, which seems to be where practitioners like Duncan Stroik and Quinlan Terry get off.

All but the most stubborn architects [admittedly probably most of them] agree that we often have to take a step back in order to go forward, . . . . but not back to 1570 . . . and the purpose is . . . . to go forward

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