LinkLuv: Beauty and church architecture

Architecture + Morality’s relievedebtor talks about his visit to Arkansas architect Fay Jones’ Thorncrown Chapel. He makes some interesting comparisons between the Eureka Springs chapel and most modern church buildings, and asks why chapels are so often much more architecturally engaging.

    I suspect there are several reasons that chapels (as opposed to sanctuaries built by congregations) generate the best ideas and employ the best architects. For starters, congregations rarely have the funds to be avant garde. They usually can muster up just enough cash to fund a standard, if not boring A-frame sanctuary, with predictable stability, efficiency and minimal religious symbolism. In the case of Thorncrown and other chapels, it was the wealth (thanks in part to answered prayers) and land of one person that provided the carte blanche necessary for architectural risk and reward.

David Taylor wrote an article on beauty that was just published in Christianity Today. He starts with this wonderful C.S. Lewis quote:

    What more, you may ask, do we want? … We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.

I found the article via Taylor’s blog.

Photo from Wikipedia by Whit Slemmons.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

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