The First Factor: Spatial Dynamics

Richard Kieckhefer

in Theology in Stone

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780195154665
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835676 | DOI:
 The First Factor: Spatial Dynamics

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The kinetic dynamism of a classic sacramental church, with its longitudinal space for processions, is exemplified by the design and the use of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The tendency of longitudinal space to become partitioned with screens and other barriers is discussed with reference to Saint Albans Cathedral, in England. The possibility of reconceiving and revitalizing classic sacramental space is demonstrated by the case of Saint Gregory of Nyssa, in San Francisco. The central plan is shown to be a variation on the longitudinal design. The verbal dynamism of a classic evangelical church, with auditorium seating on a ground floor and in a gallery, is exemplified by the early Congregational Chapel in Walpole, England. The tendency toward hybrid arrangements is shown in the Westerkerk at Amsterdam, which, though fundamentally Protestant, retains certain features of medieval design. The use of a modern communal church for gathering of the congregation is illustrated by the Methodist church at Northfield, Minnesota. Problems in the modern communal tradition are discussed with reference to the Church of the Autostrada outside Florence, Italy.

Keywords: spatial dynamics; Santa Maria Maggiore (Rome); processions; Saint Albans Cathedral (England); Saint Gregory of Nyssa (San Francisco); central plan; Congregational Chapel in Walpole (England); Westerkerk (Amsterdam); Methodist church at Northfield (Minnesota); Church of the Autostrada (Florence)

Chapter.  19580 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christian Theology

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