Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What was the building?

Well, my clever readers figured it out. The mystery building I posted a photo of is a church in Austria commonly called the Wotruba Church after the architect who designed it.

Here it is:



Oddly, it is said that Wotruba was inspired to design the church by a visit to Chartres Cathedral:




I can't help but think that those who designed Chartres Cathedral had a different underlying understanding of things than Fritz Wotruba.

Chartres represents an attempt to create something beautiful in an ordered universe reaching upward toward the heavens; Wotruba might well have attempted to capture the "essence of Europe" but he created a church which represents a more random and chaotic universe.

Perhaps I've misunderstood what Wotruba was trying to achieve - it's difficult to determine as I couldn't find a detailed explanation of his theory of architecture.

7 comments:

  1. The heap of feces I left in the toilet last night was inspired by the steak I had for lunch.

    Nevertheless, feces is not as beautiful as steak.

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  2. It looks to me like a set of child's wooden blocks, arranged as a child might to build a house.

    I can only imagine his inspiration was watching his 5 year old and then accepting that all the really good designs were already taken.

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  3. I remember years ago seeing some vomit in the parking lot, and seeing a dog licking it up. I think the dog was named Fritz.

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  4. One is a traditional view of life, and the other is the liberal autonomy life.

    Although the square building will stand for sometime, anything so much as a small invasion will have it crumbling to pieces; whereas the traditional ordered castle can withstand siege for weeks even months.

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  5. My wife is Austrian, so I've spent a good deal of time in the country. It is a land with a great many exquisite churches. I'm not thinking primarily of the grand rococo churches and cathedrals, but of innumerable country churches set upon hilltops or at the heads of narrow valleys. The proportions, the colors, and most of all, the site are in so many cases breathtaking. Alas, these churches are too often empty, but they are at least relics of a time when the parish church was part of a village and yet also clearly the portal to something else.

    Here in the U.S., our congregations may be larger, but there is something unhealthy about the drab banality of many church buildings. If they are not meeting in a pole barn next to the feedlot, it's in a gimcrack auditorium that seats 3,000 and sports a three-foot steeple.

    Unlike that Austrian abomination in the post, modern American churches are ugly because they are cheap buildings on commercial sites. But both are ugly and by their ugliness display the same underlying spiritual disease.

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  6. Wotruba might well have attempted to capture the "essence of Europe" but he created a church which represents a more random and chaotic universe.

    Architecture - in the sense that it's an art form - is imbued with the Spirit of the Age. We live an an epoch in which hideous structures like the Wotruba Church are almost inevitable manifestations of the mind-set that characterises the 'intellectual world'.This building reflects the distintegration of aesthetic values within the context of a "more random and chaotic universe.

    Sorry to make this commonplace observation, but sometimes it's necessary to state the obvious.

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  7. whereas the traditional ordered castle can withstand siege for weeks even months.

    I highly doubt that, for a couple of reasons.

    1 - a cathedral was not a castle, and was not designed primarily as a military stronghold. Among other things, it's not designed to provide a food supply for a lot of people. Depending on climate, having food that would keep for weeks or months might be difficult. And even if they had chickens or other livestock inside, they would need to feed the chickens.

    2 - While the physical structure of a cathedral might have withstood medieval military assault, modern warfare is quite different. A squadron of bombers could easily do lots of damage to a structure like that: lots of historic buildings were destroyed and had to be rebuilt during World War 2.

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