Friday, October 18, 2013

Great cities have great buildings

UPDATE: Outstanding post on the matter addressed below by Bosco Peters

The terrific thing about Sydney is that it has some great buildings. Not heaps like say a London, Washington D.C. or Paris, but enough to shape its identity, enhance its fame and add to the reasons to visit it. My second visit to Sydney did nothing to diminish the awe in which I hold the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House which, handily, can be seen in tandem from many vantage points, such as

While in Sydney I was totally impressed by St Mary's Catholic Cathedral. Architecturally speaking, with Gothic European cathedrals in mind, it is not distinctive, save that no other cathedral in the Southern Hemisphere competes with it for size. But its distinction, for this Down Under Anglican, was in its interior tone or 'tone': impressive soft golden hued lighting, general layout including lack of potentially noisy distractions contributed to an immediate sense of entering the house of the divine presence in which prayer, devotion and quiet reflection was the only appropriate mode of being. Awesome in its holiness I really rate this cathedral.

So with those thoughts in my mind it is interesting this week in Christchurch to read about a proposal for our permanent cathedral from left-field (almost literally as it is the brainchild of an ex Christchurch resident now living in London). You can read about it in this article. It is worth clicking on the video to gain a flying birds-eye view of the concept.

Here is the key pic:

If you cannot quite make out what is going on, the concept is of the cathedral being demolished to a safe level (left hand side of picture) and of a mesh roof stretching out from the existing cathedral footprint outwards to the Square surrounding the Cathedral (i.e. towards the top, bottom and right hand sides of the picture.

I think I see in the flying birds-eye view a set apart interior space under the centre of the mesh roof. But it is hard to work out how this space might work (thinking of my appreciation of St Mary's Cathedral) for prayer and devotion.

I am not going to make a judgment on the basis of limited knowledge of this concept whether it is worth further consideration or not, nor whether it might prove to be a great building which sets Christchurch apart like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. But I have returned from Sydney very keen to see that our new cathedral is a great building which helps restore greatness to our city.

Addendum: an additional article is now available, with a picture of what the 'interior' or 'under the canopy' might look like, here.


Kurt said...

Nice pics. Did you have an opportunity to check out The Rocks and Millers Point?

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

The Rocks, yes, and I think we were towards the end of the Millers Point area ... At times I got confused re streets, alleys, stairs and steps!

Pageantmaster said...

Perhaps an inspirational lunch for Mr Taylor suggested a spun sugar net?

Janice said...

Yeah. Watched the video. Still reminds of the flying nun's hat.

John Sandeman said...

Its a nice day in Sydney today. But yesterday was terrible, over 100 houses were lost in bushfires-and as the day goes on we will find out if people died defending their property.
The sky was orange and purple last night. Embers from the Springwood fire (in the Blue Mountains) were dropping into the sea at Bondi.
Please pray for the emerald city.