Antynomie współczesnej architektury sakralnej
The church architecture of the 20th century was marked by previously unknown va¬riety of artistic formulas. The applied forms were not only variants of model groups with common pre-conditions, but they constituted different versions of controversial models as far as the ideological and artistic assumptions were concerned. Getting to know the differences within the theological and artistic concepts, enables an under¬standing of reasons for which the exterior and the interior of the modernistic churches show so many dissimilarities. The first group of problems refers to doctrinal sources of individual solutions. The religious architecture depends on the attitude towards religious values which are common in given society and age and it embodies its forms in particular theological concepts and views included in official documents referring to individual confessions. As far as the big world religions are concerned, the most complex phenomenon in the 20th century within the sacred building is connected with the Catholic confession, although a lot of important concepts and official points of view can be associated with the Protestant believers of Christianity too. The con¬vergence of Christian confessions, pointed out by some researchers, makes it possible with reference to the issue of architecture, to treat these two sections altogether. To a much smaller extent the mentioned changes affected the construction of Orthodox churches, synagogues, mosques and buildings serving other well- known religions. The basic issue in this book refers to logical inconsistencies, which destroyed the uniformity of architecture, typical for the previous ages and having the aim to gather the Christian believers. Searching for reasons of forms` diversity and opposite con¬cepts for church building a few most important sources can be pointed at. The first one was the point of view of some theologians that the desacralization has a positive meaning. Besides the period of the early Christianity, the holiness connected with the world of matter was treated positively, and after having been favoured with artis¬tic values, it was directed towards the source of all possible existence. The emerging of the opinion that the activity of Jesus Christ sanctified the whole world and in the same time put an end to all previous forms of holiness engendered a demand to give up a distinguishing of existence spheres between sacred and secular ones. This de¬mand referred also to church buildings which according to this concept were no more built in a way that let them look different from other buildings constructed to serve other purposes. The idea of desacralization was contradictory to long-lasting tradi¬tion of separating in the visual world the values which could have been associated with holy existence and of creating outstanding places of worship. All this led to two mutually exclusive traditions: maintaining the peculiarity of some churches and de¬privation of any extraordinary nature in the case of others. The custom of depriving the churches of their miraculousness was also connected with two contradictory con¬cepts of the role of art and beauty in architecture. Some modernistic architects and theoreticians in the 20th century created an idea about a diminished role of artistic features compared to the role foreseen in the architecture for new building materials, constructions and proper solutions for matching buildings to their usage. Therefore, a vast number of churches were built exclusively as engineering works, whereas for another group the objective was to achieve a satisfactory appearance. The beauty – characteristic for traditionally formed churches, began to be respected gradually also in the modernistic buildings, though still as a second rate quality compared with the importance of materials and the construction itself. Usually the beauty resulted from the perfect looks of steel and glass elements and layers of precious kinds of stone. In the 20th century only a small group of architects and theoreticians de¬fended the term of beauty as of metaphysical origin and thus difficult to comprehend, and playing a special role in the approach to God. Beauty treated as coming from and back to God reminds of traditional concept of the symbol, according to which the symbol was a visible manifestation of invisible existence. The duality of the character of beauty and symbol supplied such a strong basis for the sacred art that the idea of neglecting the beauty and symbol in this field seemed almost impossible to imagine. During the 20th century however the symbolic values of sacred art works did not show the features of God`s world any more. They were expected to speak about the characteristics of the present earthly world following the example of the remaining kinds of art. Instead of being helpful by illustrating the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven, the symbol became an element of the technical worship belonging to the reality of the kingdom of humans. The church buildings stopped resembling civitas Dei, Heavenly Jerusalem and became similar to factories, railway stations or pavil¬ions of world exhibitions devoted to technical achievements. This might be a new as¬pect of the approach to sacred art, deeply contradictory to the traditional one, which developed almost undisturbed from the beginning of the Middle Ages until the 20th century. The main ideological contradictions described so far, that is the contradic¬tion between a positive and negative attitude to sacrum, the contradiction between aspiring to create buildings presenting symbolically the eternal works of God and aspiring to create buildings telling about the modern humans` world, finally the con¬tradiction between treating beauty as a means of approaching God and indifference towards beauty as an objective of architecture, were all together a result of a discus¬sion carried out not by theologians but first of all secular researchers, columnists and artists. The theory of sacred architecture was significantly influenced by statements of secular people, revealing thereby a relation between the present mental attitudes and specific area of activities like the very church building. However, it is obvious that the form of the churches was also to some extent influenced by the discussions about strictly religious subjects conducted by theologians. Within this scope, a special role fell to deliberations about liturgy. At the beginning, the issue concerning the revival of liturgy and its clearing of exces¬sive complications was dealt with at some French, Belgian and German Benedictine monasteries. A renewal in the circles of Gregorian chant and generally putting at¬tention to music as a factor of increasing the engagement of participants in liturgy gained the approbation of pope Pius X. Further experiments that took place in small¬er milieus grew with time to bigger events described later as a movement of liturgical reform. Demands formed by representatives of reformers aimed at getting the altar closer to believers, which was achieved by shortening the chancels, moving the altar close to nave crossings or building central churches, where the altar could have been surrounded at various sides by benches. New material made it additionally possible to construct one-spatial churches without side-naves. All this aimed at strengthening the feeling of community among believers and their activity at fulfilling the rituals. The proposals depicted by theologians of the reforming movement in the 1940s were taken over some several dozen years later into the documents of the Second Vatican Council as the official doctrine of the Catholic Church. This council debated under a great pressure of the need to update the Catholic Church, followed finally by radical changes, these questioned however with time. Besides, the supporters of the changes in liturgy promoted some solutions that went far beyond resolution made in the docu¬ments of the last council. The reformation thought developed in a spirit of the council was followed by opinions which at the end of 20th century were regarded as contain¬ing a lot of serious theological mistakes. Those of them which had an impact on the particular church forms and the implemented space solutions have been presented in this book, based on findings of Otton Rudolf Hoffmann and Klaus Gamber as well as, in the first place, Steven Schloeder. Moreover, similarly to the movement of liturgical reforms that developed beyond the main stream of Catholic religion, the critics of its achievements unfolded in opposition to commonly accepted convictions. Another separated group of reasons because of which the modernistic churches differ so much from each other has to do with growing complications within their artistic roots. Already a pre-research enables to notice that the 20th-century churches can be divided in two big juxtaposing complexes: traditionalistic churches (works of late historical stream) and churches built in a spirit of avant-garde modernism. This at least in accordance with the whole historiography due to which works were eagerly brought together by contrasting styles. This model dating back to the philosophy of Hegel, in 20th century sustained by Nicolaus Pevsner or Siegfried Giedion, has not been exhausted as much as suggested by positivist critics of historism (inspired by Karl Raimund Popper) or its irrational enemies (inspired by Martin Heidegger`s and Hans-Georg Gadamer`s philosophies). Although this book sustains the belief in dis¬similarity of the late historism-formula and avant-garde modernism, it also takes into consideration the methodological suggestions of the newer historiography. However, the author tries above all to define more precisely than before symptoms of tradition¬alism and modernism in sacred architecture and later on presents analyses of works passed over so far and belonging to the field between traditionalism and avant-garde modernism. As highly representative for churches showing separate aspirations both in reference to traditionalism and modernism was chosen the Dominikus Böhm Church in Leverkusen, this also due to the fact that it contains extremely contradic¬tory features. In its formal layer Böhm Church was based on patterns originating to the same extent from late historism, expressionism and Neues Bauen-stream alike. Ideologically, it took advantage of three contradictory religious concepts. Advancing the thesis that the diversity of forms chosen by modernistic churches is born of simultaneous functioning of two competing and strongly opposing styles needs a further explanation. The so far existing great styles evolved developing the accessible forms` sets. The history of traditionalism and modernism was different. Late historism was influenced by diverse possibilities of creating forms and addi¬tionally many different artistic and ideological attitudes. Though the development of avant-garde modernism was similar, it was in addition connected with a certain difficulty that there were not only profound transformations within its development process, but also within its theoretical and historiographic presentations. Such a situ¬ation makes it possible to recognize a few variants of modernism at least, sometimes seriously contradictory to each other. A quite new phenomenon is a clear impact of modernism among styles of late historism, and among styles of modernism – of forms or attitudes typical for traditionalism. In the reflexions about manifestations of traditionalism in the sacred architecture, the issue of continuity and respect for the chosen forms is the very beginning of getting to know these possibilities of artistic creations. At a closer look emerge values associated with metaphysical sources of art and convictions about the necessity of artist’s engagement in the questions of faith or the people. The people’s issue is again connected with artistic searching for the forms which could not be attributed but to the own ethnic group. Whenever such quests among historic forms failed, they used to be directed to archaic or folk values. It re¬sulted in quite new formal possibilities. Typical for traditionalists was also a constant positive attitude to values of beauty and art. Shaping originated from the will of creat¬ing an aesthetically satisfactory work lets this group of artists be different from their modernistic colleagues, who even if not having rejected the role of beauty in archi¬tecture, used to look for adequate new forms for it. In the second half of 20th century, after the period of dominant modernistic formulas, there was partly a comeback of traditionalistic attitudes. The long ago rejected forms, the ones to be deliberately cho¬sen again and, similar to the first half of 20th century, gothic, archaic and folk values became the ones to be looked to. Back was the time of respect for creative invention, beauty and symbolic values. New was however the implementation of motifs from the pop culture in the sacred architecture and appealing to the taste of ordinary people. A summing up of the restoration tendencies of the second half of 20th century was a turn towards monumentalism and a few cathedrals, the program of which combined artistic sophistication and commonly understandable symbolic motifs. In the research reflexion about the manifestations of modernism in sacred architec¬ture attracts attention the effort put by architects, theoreticians and historians into creating an individuality of a new style. A few generations later there were attempts carried out with a big effort to prove the thesis about the whole system of relations be¬tween the modernistic works and the earlier style forms on which the first ones were dependant. The Perret’ Church in Le Raincy starting almost canonically the row of modernistic sacred buildings is nowadays regarded as a neogothic hall church stand¬ing out only because of ferroconcrete. The historians have changed their attitude to the once extolled Moser Church in Basel. It was also seen as too little modernistic and according to its interior close to gothic churches. The Metzger Church in Lucerne, extremely material and without any features of a sacred building, is the first on a long list of dependencies between modernistic buildings and antic as well as clas¬sicistic works. Tracking down classicism in modernistic works took also place in the case of a most simplified sacred building, the chapel designed by Mies van der Rohe for the IIT campus in Chicago. The classicism of this work was not able to suppress its own contradictions resulting from the simultaneous aspirations of the architect to underline the materiality and negating it. The architects discovered this inconsis¬tency and some of them even made it to the main motif of their designs. The church designed by Mangiarotti and Morassutti in Baranzate stands out through elegance and softness of the walls collated with the exposed concrete construction. Heikki and Kaija Sirén`s university chapel in Otaniemi has a radical simple modernistic form put together with a forest environment, whereas metal and glass build up a relation to rough wooden beams. The pilgrims` chapel in Ronchamp started a departing from the modernistic logics. The orthogonal shape, typical for modernism, was replaced by a block consisting of many curves. The result of it was a complication of form and a shape which was often associated with a material sphere, followed by traditional symbols in modernistic buildings which was difficult to accept by the modernists. The chapel designed by Le Corbusier was to be followed by numerous next ones later described as belonging to the so-called neoexpressionistic or brutal style. In this field the struggles of modernistic architecture against unwanted symbolism are clearly visible. A part of brutalistic works successfully resisted the narrativeness. This was the case of the church in Lourdes whose uncovered concrete skeleton was hidden un¬der the earth in a way that made it possible to create a huge meadow above it. In the works of the late neoexpressionism, as for example the church designed by Gottfried Böhm in Neviges, the audience was expecting symbolic values so fiercely that the ar¬chitect was forced to accept this. Later, he also explained his work in symbolic catego¬ries. The sculptural character of the brutalistic church buildings made people spon¬taneously think of certain motifs from the range of religious symbols. The biggest paradox is however the restoration of traditional symbolism within neomodernistic churches – glass boxes erected under using the most modern technologies possible. Examples of such cases are described at the end of the book: churches in Munich (ar¬chitects: Allmann, Sattler, Wappner) and Paris (architect Franck Hammoutène). Researching ideological and artistic contradictions in the modernistic work of sacred architecture is also important for the reflexions about the general history of modern¬ism which was an attempt to create culture without contradictions. In the first half of 20th century the modernistic tendencies led to enforcing rational character upon strictly irrational values, like religion and art. When in 1960s modernism seemed to gain the final victory, in the same time emerged the first symptoms of a serious crisis. According to architecture it has been described e.g. by Robert Venturi in the book „Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture” (1966) Here, the author depicts con¬tradiction and complexity as desired values and not as such to be necessarily deleted. Restoration of respect for religion, past, beauty or symbolic values took place in 1970s and 1980s in the atmosphere of antimodernistic counterrevolution finished by none of the parties as an undisputable winner. The following decades were full of odd hybrids combining values typical for modernism with respect for irrational virtues. Although it never came to a complex restoration of old religious and artistic traditions, the re¬flexion about metaphysical roots of the European culture questioned many canons of rationality. A typical for the period of the end of 20th century and the beginning of 21st century inclination of crossing cognitive restrictions imposed by modernism led to a situation in which many contemporary modernists are sensitive about the phenom¬enon of transcendence stuck even in the commonest products of their age. Therefore, the presented history of changes in the sacred architecture runs from sharpening the contradictions between the modernistic and traditional values, through a period of a momentary domination of modernism, then the period of postmodernistic counter¬revolution, until the current acceptance for irrational values, which is among other things visible in a subtly articulated worship of transcendence.Architekturę sakralną XX wieku cechowała niespotykana wcześniej różnorodność formuł artystycznych. Przyczyną takiego stanu rzeczy było pojawienie się na przełomie XIX i XX wieku nowych idei teologicznych i koncepcji artystycznych, które pozostawały w sprzeczności z bardziej tradycyjnymi ujęciami. Jednym z ważnych zjawisk ideowych, które naruszyły dotychczasowe podstawy budownictwa kościołów, było wystąpienie wśród teologów tezy o pozytywnym sensie zjawiska desakralizacji. Pogląd taki zrodził postulat odrzucenia rozróżniania sfer bytu na część sakralną i świecką, a w architekturze doprowadził do zaistnienia dwóch wykluczających się obyczajów: zachowywania niezwykłości charakteru jednych kościołów i odbierania wszelkiej nadzwyczajności innym. Podobnych sprzecznych koncepcji, które rozbijały właściwą poprzednim epokom jednolitość obiektów sakralnych, było więcej. Dotyczyły one między innymi stosunku do piękna i symbolu, przemian w liturgii oraz możliwości zastosowania architektonicznego modernizmu do tworzenia miejsc kultu. Część architektów podtrzymywała kanoniczne wartości dawnej architektury sakralnej, podczas gdy coraz większa grupa innych twórców próbowała stosować radykalnie nowe formy. Wraz z biegiem lat logika i konsekwencja w obu grupach twórców zaczęła słabnąć, a sprzeczność między „tradycjonalistami” i „modernistami” straciła swoją wyrazistość. Opisywana historia przemian w architekturze sakralnej przebiega zatem od wyostrzania sprzeczności między wartościami modernistycznymi i tradycyjnymi, przez stan czasowej dominacji modernizmu, okres postmodernistycznej kontrrewolucji, aż do aktualnej aprobaty dla wartości irracjonalnych, która przejawia się między innymi w subtelnie artykułowanym kulcie transcendencji.
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