Thursday afternoon

Workshops - Designing places of worship

These workshops take the Cathedral of Christ the Light as their point of reference to explore ten liturgical-architectural subjects which are significant in making architecture and art for Catholic worship.

Participants select two workshops to attend. 

Workshop 1

Participants to select one of:

Light: its meaning and use in church buildings – Mr Harry Stephens
The symbolism of light in Christian architecture has been from the outset one of the primary determinants of the configuration and adornment of the church building. Are there lessons from the past that might inform contemporary church architecture?

Dark Geometries – Professor Michael Tawa
Clarity and commensurability predominate in metaphors of divinity. Yet the divine also 'dwells in thick darkness'; and geometry is suffused by another, darker presence - the irrationals and incommensurabilities that interminably threaten to disrupt it. Rather than reading this 'other presence' as an antinomy or complement, might it be more productive and felicitous to consider it as a genuine counterpart? Thus it would be in the transactions between light and dark, presence and absence, establishment and disestablishment that the House of God might play out its future forms.

Making modern architecture for Catholic worship – Mr Andrew Cortese
The Catholic Church has consistently adopted new architectural styles as these have emerged in each era of history. Yet modern architectural expressions have not yet been fully received by Church leaders who commission and architects who design new churches. Does contemporary architecture have the capacity to be suitable and meaningful in church design?

Ritual and devotional spaces – Very Rev Peter G Williams
Churches are designed primarily for celebration of the Eucharist. Yet they must also provide for celebration of the other sacramental and liturgical rites such as baptism, confirmation, marriage, reconciliation and funerals, as well as for the public and private practice of devotions, such as the Stations of the Cross and veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints. How can diverse yet related spaces of ritual enactment and devotional practice be incorporated and integrated so as to form a harmonious whole?

Images In The Church – Sacred Or Kitsch? What Makes The Difference? – Sr Rosemary Crumlin RSM
This workshop will explore some images in more recent churches including other Sacred Art in contemporary places of worship. It will offer ways of critiquing, discussing and involving parishioners in decision-making for commissions. I hope it may be possible for us together to create a process through our shared experience that will also highlight the cheap hazards of sugar coated kitsch as well as celebrate moments of deep religious insight through looking and seeing together. At the end, I hope we can develop a network of support and a kind of fun road map for working with, enjoying and commissioning sacred art in our places of worship and in the liturgies.

Workshop 2

Participants to select one of:

The Artistic Idea – Mr Paul Walsh
The essential characteristic of a GREAT work of art in any discipline is the CENTRAL IDEA or FORMATIVE PRINCIPLE that governs and arranges all the parts into an harmonious whole. The central idea of a great work is an insight discerned by the artist into the whole cosmic order and brought into resonance with the full human condition of spirit, mind and body. The workshop will look at the above in light of Genesis and Liturgical Architecture.

Materials and their meaning – Ms Kylie Legge
Architecture has the potential to be the most meaningful of all the arts as it touches us from cradle to grave. The materials from which it is made play a fundamental role in this. Every material has inherent meaning. Can this inform the making of a church building?

Place and people: the church in context – Rev Dr Tom Elich
How does the church building relate to the streetscape and how is it integrated into the matrix of its urban setting?
What issues does this question raise?

The place of the pipe organ – Dr Sing Ly D’Arcy
This workshop will address issues relating to organ design and placement within the interiors of churches. It will take into consideration the liturgical, musical and architectural contexts. A survey of historical and contemporary examples of differing designs and placement of organs within ecclesiastical spaces will serve as a means of assessing the impact the organ has on the configuration of architectural space, the implications for compliance with liturgical practices as well as its musical capabilities.

Ordering the church for liturgical celebration – Rev Dr Stephen Hackett
Churches are to be designed suitable for the active participation of the worshipping community and for the celebration of the liturgical rites. The ordering or arrangement of churches since Vatican Council II reflects both continuity and innovation, as architects have sought design solutions that are responsive to these two fundamental requirements. How have these various solutions served worshipping communities and the liturgical rites? Which arrangements offer the best solutions for future projects?

Friday morning

Workshops - And when churches are to be built

‘And when churches are to be built …’ is the title of new guidelines on the preparation, planning and construction of places of worship developed by the National Liturgical Architecture and Art Board to assist all who are involved in church building and renovation projects.

Participants select three workshops to attend.

Architectural Principles - Mr Harry Stephens
The making of any work of sacred architecture is governed by architectural principles. An understanding and appreciation of these principles can only be achieved by a genuine opening of the intellect to the wisdom that is a gift of the Holy Spirit. The sacred endeavour of designing or redesigning a place of worship, and of fashioning a spatial arrangement suitable for liturgy and for people’s participation in it, begins with a clear grasp of foundational architectural principles.

Liturgical Principles - Rev Brian Nichols
The making of any work of sacred architecture in service of the liturgy is governed by liturgical principles. An understanding and appreciation of these principles is foundational to the sacred endeavour of designing or redesigning a place of worship, to the fashioning a spatial arrangement suitable for liturgy and for people’s participation in it. These liturgical principles should inform every aspect of the design process.

Spaces and places: relationships in the liturgical setting - Sr Jill O'Brien SGS
Designing a place of worship involves fashioning the building as a unified whole while Incorporating the elements necessary for enacting the liturgical rites. Each element must fulfil its function, of itself and in relation to the other elements and to the unified whole. Each of the principal liturgical elements must effectively signify its meaning in accordance with Catholic tradition.

The arts - Rev Mgr Charles Portelli
The liturgy and the places of worship in which the liturgy is celebrated are served by the arts. These arts include iconographic schemes, sacred furnishings and liturgical items, art for veneration, and arts which constitute part of the fabric of a building. All art used in the liturgy and in places of worship should be truly beautiful, sacramental in character, and designed and crafted so as to fulfil its purpose. 

The church design process and its relationships - Mr Andrew Kirbride
Building a place of worship is a complex project. It demands a clear understanding of the continuum of processes which must be undertaken from inception to completion. It involves the participation of many, all of whom bring expertise to the project or exercise authority over it. It necessitates the comprehensive planning and management of the project in all its stages and the collaboration of all who participate in it.

Friday afternoon

Workshops - Recent and current projects

At any time there are cathedral, church and chapel projects being undertaken somewhere in Australia. Six recent and current projects, comprising new buildings, renovation of older buildings, completion of earlier structures, heritage works, and liturgical reordering will be presented.

Participants select two project presentations to attend.

Ss Peter & Paul’s Church, Buninyong - Mr Richard Falkinger
Ss Peter and Paul Church recently opened in the town of Buninyong, some 10km from the provincial city of Ballarat. Designed by Richard Falkinger, it was built to provide for a growing community that could no longer be accommodated in the original church. Contemporary in style and designed for the community and the liturgy, the new church is connected to the old and features extensive use of stained glass.

St Joseph’s Church, Malvern - Ms Sandy Law
St Joseph’s Church, built in 1908, is of Romanesque revival style and has a cruciform plan. Liturgically reordered in 1972 following Vatican Council II, a subsequent reordering was undertaken in 2006 by Graeme Law (d.2014). This second postconciliar reordering sought to better accommodate the celebration of the reformed liturgical rites within the existing plan, to enhance community spaces, and to reinstate elements of the original church design.

ACU Chapels - Dr Clare V Johnson, Mr Jesse Mowbray, Mr Peter Korkolis
St Mary of the Cross (MacKillop) Chapel, Melbourne; Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, North Sydney; Aquinas Chapel, Ballarat; Barron Memorial Chapel, Strathfield
Australian Catholic University has embarked upon a program to provide its campuses throughout Australia with chapels which are beautiful works of architecture. They are to enhance the liturgical life of students and staff, provide places for prayer, and witness to the Catholic identity of the University. Two of these chapels have been completed, in Melbourne and at North Sydney; and two are in the design phase, in Strathfield and Ballarat. Peter Korkolis and Jesse Mowbray are among the architects involved in these projects.

St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth - Mr Peter Quinn, Sr Kerry Willison RSM
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was erected across three centuries. The earliest small cathedral in neo-gothic style opened in 1865, with subsequent additions and alterations in 1905. A larger chancel, crossing and transept, intended as the beginning of a much grander cathedral, opened in 1930. A project to complete the cathedral, incorporating much of the earlier structures, was concluded in 2009. Designed by Peter Quinn, the twenty-first century St Mary’s Cathedral blends new and old in a light-filled setting well suited to liturgical celebration.

New church, Burleigh Heads - Mr Peter Gardiner, Rev Kenneth Howell
Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast is Australia’s largest parish. A large new church to meet the needs of the growing Catholic community has been designed by Peter Gardiner. The liturgical ordering of the church is informed by the rites that will be celebrated there, and will gather the faithful to the altar and to one another. The new structure also incorporates parish offices, meeting and function rooms.