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feeling’” (Howarth, 25). This sensitivity for the spiritual can be seen in the history of Benedictine architecture.Benedictine historical church architecture has always been anagogical; they havecontinually pursued architecture that suggests spiritual advancement. Their specific architectureties closely in with their values and traditions. Benedictines have always treasuredtheimportance of prayer,thoughtfulness, community, hospitality, stability, the arts, and so on. InGeoffrey Simmins article “Order and Light: the Architecture of Two Benedictine AbbeyChurches in Western Canada”, Benedictines believe that “Stability and a search for beauty, bothnatural and creatively ordered, go hand in hand” (3) and this belief has continually influencedtheir attitude towards architecture.Simmins mentions in his article that,
Stemming from the vow of stability, Benedictines foster a tradition of excellence, combined with awillingness to encourage architectural experimentation –and a willingness to build up to, andsometimes beyond, their means, as a way of creating a fitting tribute to God (21).
Traditionally, Gothic architecture has been the style for Benedictinechurches. Gothic stylechurches
are of large size, unusual materials, bold, and command one’s attention; they arecreated to draw one’s gaze upward. In Scott Carlson’s article “Marcel Breuer at Saint John’s”,he mentions that,“Gothic churches of centuries ago, with their soaring, elaborately decoratedfacades and vaulted interiors, meant to awe those who approach and to inspire them to envisionsomething bigger thanthis world” (1). The Gothic churches of history inspired the monks of Saint John’s Abbey to create a new church that would house both the values and traditions of Benedictines and the needs for the growing student body.In order to fully understandhow theAbbey Church encompasses thosedistinctive values, a more in-depth look at what Marcel Breuerand the monksenvisioned for the inner and outerdesign of the church is necessary. But beforediving into the design and description of the church, I want to first look at poem written by