Category - Architecture

Saint Albans Cathedral: a building of firsts and lasts

The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban, approximately 20 miles north of the British capital, is a building teeming with firsts and lasts. It is the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain, for example. Named after Britain’s first Christian martyr and saint, beheaded by Roman soldiers for his faith in the fourth century, the shrine of Saint Alban behind the high altar has been a site of pilgrimage for 1700 years. 2336565940_8b6c8f8a63_b Dominating the skyline from all around, parts of the current structure date back almost 1000 years, to just 23 years after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and is therefore one of the first Norman cathedrals constructed in the United Kingdom. By the time it was consecrated in the presence of King Henry I, 13 abbots had already served the saint’s shrine since his death.St_Albans_Cathedral_Lady_ChapelWhen constructed, Saint Albans Cathedral was also the largest building of any sort in the country, and today the 144 feet high ‘crossing tower’ (an architectural term meaning a tower at the center point of a cruciform structure) is the only eleventh century example still standing – and one which in part reused Roman-era bricks and flint from the old city of Verulamium.800px-St_Albans_Cathedral_Nave,_Herfordshire,_UK_-_DiliffThe cathedral also contains the longest nave (the central space of a church) in England, stretching a distance of almost 300 feet, and lined with a stark mixture of Norman-era and Gothic style arches that would originally have been plain in decoration. These arches were ornamented with murals depicting the life of Christ and other religious figures in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, making them some of the oldest and most extensive series of medieval wall paintings known. Hidden under whitewash for many years, they were rediscovered once more during the reign of Queen Victoria in the 1800s.Saint_Albans_Cathedral

Soon to rise in Upstate New York: A psychedelic temple of giant Godheads

There’s a god for death, a god for war, a god for harvest….there’s a god for everything! And every single day, each one of us would worship or own personal gods. These are all still apart from the denominational gods we worship for the sake of mainstream religions. You have probably heard of all the different gods that both the modern and ancient world has to offer, in one way or another, but have you heard of the God of Visionary Art?

Entheon-Steeplehead-645x407He (or She) is the god responsible for the psychedelic temple currently underway near the Hudson River. Like a secret magical shrine hidden within a 40-acre plot, the structure is probably one of the oddest structures to be ever built in upstate New York.mapandwoman735 Baptized as the Entheon, this structure (which some people believe to be “DMT-inspired”), once built, is going to be the Chapel of Sacred Mirror’s first ever temple. CoSM, which first started as a non-profit charity received official recognition as a legitimate religion in 2008. It was founded by husband-and-wife artists Allyson and Alex Grey way back in 1996.
Entheon-Front-large-1024x731  The Entheon will be a temple none like any other, as it is going to be both a spiritual and artistic space. Some of CoSM’s spiritual practices, after all, involve musical meditation and art creation ceremonies. In fact, the temple itself will hold multiple galleries to house CoSM’s permanent art collection. Hence, the pieces which are going to be displayed, are not going to be just ornaments made to inspire spirituality (as is the case of other churches and temples), nor were they created as physical representations of divine imagery, as objects of worship. They may also be looked upon as works of art, such as how you would view displays in a regular art gallery or a museum. Entheon-Collective-Vision-Roof-645x449Visitors of this temple in the future must bear an open-mind, though. The structure itself—both its exteriors and interiors—can be downright weird, for lack of a better term. It’s going to be a three-level structure, which will look like a big, enclosed, and rectangular Asian gazebo. Its roof will have hundreds of eyes looking up to the sky.
brian-alex-allyson-sacred-mirrors-room-december-2017 Its white-walled exteriors, according to the rendition, will be surrounded by giant “Godheads” interconnected with each other. Other religious symbols and imagery, collected from different cultures across the world are also in sculptural relief, such as all-seeing eyes, dragons, angels, among many others. Its interiors are going to be just as rich. With halls made of brick with golden arches and vibrantly red walls, with as many mythological and divine symbolism as its exterior walls.

A Kickstarter account was started in order to raise the funds needed for the construction, and upon writing this, the $2.8 million goal, is now only $500k away from fulfillment, which says a lot on how soon we can expect the Entheon from reaching completion.

References: archpaper.com, entheon.cosm.org, cosm.org

The dragon of Barcelona: Gaudi’s Casa Batlló is one of the most bizarre architectural works from the 20th century

Casa_Batllo_Overview_Barcelona_Spain_cutBarcelona is a city of great culture and amazing architecture which makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Some of the most recognizable architectural masterpieces were constructed by the one and only Antoni Gaudi, who at the beginning of 1900 started to build a house which today is considered as one of his greatest works.   398px-CasaBatllo_0054The name of the house is Casa Batlló and the architect’s idea was to depict Saint George and the dragon. He was hired by the Batlló family to rebuilt their previous home. The owner gave total freedom to Gaudi to do what thinks its best to reconstruct the whole place. With his artistic vision, he created the most authentic work of art.800px-Close_up_Casa_BatloThe texture of the façade looks like a dragon’s gills and there is a cross on the roof that represents the saint. The balconies which are carved of cast iron look like faces and suppose to be the skulls of the dragon’s victims. The unusually shaped windows in the lower part of the house and the entrance have white curved frames and highly decorated columns that combined together look like a dragon’s jaw. That is way Casa Batlló is also dubbed as the House of Bones.CasaBatllo_inner_courtyardThe interior is as bizarre as the exterior. One of the most stunning spaces is the loft with its nadrealistic white walls that looks like a dragon’s spine. The main floor is the largest space in the house which has the unusually shaped windows covered with colorful stained glass. The most popular feature in the house is the roof which according to Gaudi represents the dragon’s back. It is made of colorful ceramic tiles and there is a small window shaped like a triangle that symbolizes the dragon’s eye.
CasaBatllo_rooftop_chimneys_dragonThe house was finished in two years, and from 1910 it was impossible for the locals to not stop in front of it and admire its unusual beauty. The word of the House of Bones spread fast around the world and everyone was excited to see this dragon in the middle of the city. It belonged to the Batlló family until the 1950s and after almost forty years it was bought by the Bernat family who are the current owners. From 1995, the house is open to the public and many events are hosted during each year. Millions of people come to visit the house and it always stands out as one of the greatest places they’ve visited from their must-see lists. In 2005, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and remains as one of the most valuable icons of Barcelona. CasaBatlló_NobleFloor_saloon_side1024px-Casa_Batlló_(Antoni_Gaudi)_(interior,_ceiling_close_up),_43,_Passeig_de_Gràcia,_Eixample,_Barcelona,_Catalonia,_Spainimages: wiki