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Houses of God: Religious Architecture for a New Millenium [Hardcover]

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Item description for Houses of God: Religious Architecture for a New Millenium by Michael J. Crosbie...

The subject of architecture for religion continues to fascinate. Houses of God: Religious Architecture for a New Millennium by noted author and architect Michael J. Crosbie, demonstrates an inspiring array of gathering places for worship, collected from the USA and abroad. These projects, illustrated with superb photography and detailed plans, demonstrate how architects and congregations can work together to build places that satisfy often complex cultural and personal needs. There are churches, synagogues and temples by some of the world's leading architects, including Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Heinz Tesar, Gould Evans and many others.

Outline Review
If this is architecture for the gods, the gods must be groaning. Not to say that this big, handsome paperback look at more than 40 recent faith-centered architectural projects around the U.S.--complete with full-color photographs, plans, and excellent annotations--doesn't make it amply and diversely clear that there has been a boom in America in recent years in the building of churches, synagogues, mosques, and nondenominational chapels. And certainly not to say that architects aren't finding all sorts of clever ways to update religious iconography for modern times, or combine traditional and contemporary architectural styles under one roof--be it deeply pitched, in the style of the classic country church (like the new St. James Episcopal Church in Fairhope, AL, whose heart-redwood boards, painted bone-white, evoke the region's charming Gulf Coast carpenter-Gothic style), or domed (like Skidmore Owings & Merrill's high-profile Islamic Cultural Center, the first mosque for New York City's sizable Muslim population, skewed on its site to face Mecca, as required by Muslim law, and complete with its own dramatic, postmodern minaret of square, terra-cotta-colored panels).

It's just that many of these sacred edifices aim so hard for contemporaneity or flexibility of use that they look like anything but houses of worship. Here, we have a low-slung, multivolume light brick Presbyterian church in Baltimore that looks like an Eisenhower-era public high school; there, the Metropolitan Community Church in Washington, D.C., whose enormous rainbow flag is the only thing that tips you off that this is the first American church (and not a huge gymnasium or sports arena) to have been built by a gay congregation. Certainly, no one could be serious about worship in the Gethsemane Episcopal Cathedral, in Fargo, ND, which resembles a hideous hybrid of a whitewashed grain silo and one of those garish "luxury homes"--complete with a multitude of LEGO-like gables and picture windows--that you see cropping up on (sadly) tree-shorn lots in suburban subdivisions across America. Strip the interiors of most of these projects of the telltale cross, Magen David, or what have you, and the overwhelming effect seems to be that of a spanking new auditorium--all outfitted in blond wood and gray slate--appropriate for a multitude of uses, but special to none.

With their skyward-reaching spires and far-flying buttresses, onion-shaped domes and slender towers--even (in the case of early Protestant America) their handsome, strong-limbed austerity--houses of worship once were stunning expressions of human artistry and effort in the name of the divine. It's no wonder, then, that amidst the (at best) "tasteful" palette of present-day ordinariness that's showcased here the most spiritual of entries seem to be the quirkiest or most outrageous. To wit, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Temple in Independence, MO, with its psychedelic, illuminated spire that spirals up into the heavens like a Dairy Queen soft-serve cone; a tiny grotto-like chapel that overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Sea Ranch, CA, its rustic, weirdly curved stone flanks and shingled-wood roof rising from the land like Corbu's cathedral at Ronchamps, France (had it been scaled and styled for a Hobbit); and the San Juan Bautista Mission, which was built on a shoestring budget by a group of parishioners, professionals, and residents of the mostly poor Latin American neighborhood in Miami in which it sits like a little jewel from old Havana. Inside, the cherubim that are depicted on a lovely ceiling fresco easily could be all of the many-hued children of 21st-century Miami, so matter-of-factly does the image assume, and attain, contemporaneity. It's one of the few instances in this nonetheless substantive, stylish, and engaging book in which the creativity, expressiveness, and sense of wonderment that the gods gave us in the first place haven't been sacrificed to the blandly mortal demands of modernity. --Timothy Murphy

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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 12" Width: 9.1" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   2.85 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 25, 2007
Publisher   Images Publishing Group Pty. Ltd.
ISBN  1920744975  
ISBN13  9781920744977  

Availability  0 units.

More About Michael J. Crosbie

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Donald Watson, FAIA, NCARB, is an architect in private practice. He is former Dean and Professor of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York (1990-2000) and former Visiting Professor at Yale School of Architecture and Chair of Yale's Master of Environmental Design Program (1970-1990). He has received the 2002 ASCA Distinguished Professor Award and a AIA Educational Honors Award (1997). His architectural work has received national and international design awards. His books include "Designing and Building a Solar House" (Garden Way, 1977), and "Climatic Building Design, " co-authored with Kenneth Labs (McGraw-Hill, 1983), recipient of the 1984 Best Book in Architecture and Planning Award from the American Publishers Association. He is editor-in-chief of "Time-Saver Standards for Building Materials and Systems" (2000) and "Time-Saver Standards for Urban Design" (2003).

Michael J. Crosbie, Ph.D. is active in architectural journalism, research, teaching, and practice. He received his Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture from Catholic University. He has previously served as technical editor for "Architecture" and "Progressive Architecture" magazines and is a former contributing editor to "Construction Specifier." He is a licensed architect and a senior associate at Steven Winter Associates, a building systems research and consulting firm in Norwalk, Connecticut, and the editor-in-chief of "Faith & Form" magazine. Dr. Crosbie has won several journalism awards. He is the author of more than a dozen books on architectural subjects and several hundred articles that have appeared in publications such as "Architectural Record, Architecture, Collier's Encyclopedia Yearbook, Construction Specifier, Fine Homebuilding, Historic Preservation, Landscape Architecture, Progressive Architecture, " and "Wiley's Encyclopedia of Architecture, Design, Engineering & Construction." He has been a visiting lecturer/critic at University of Pennsylvania; Columbia University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee; Yale School of Architecture; and the Moscow Architectural Institute and is adjunct professor of architecture at the Roger Williams University School of Architecture.

Michael J. Crosbie currently resides in Norwalk, in the state of Connecticut.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > Building Types & Styles > Religious Buildings
2Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Houses of God: Religious Architecture for a New Millenium?

Finest Book on Religious Architecture in the Last 25 Years  Jun 29, 2002
Over the span of my professional career, I have focused on religious architecture. Having done extensive research on the topic over the course of my career, this book stands out as the finest compilation on this building type. The projects and religious organizations are diverse. What they all have in common is the quality of design and the search for appropriateness in architecture for worship.
God in Space and Space for God  Feb 16, 2001
As an admirer of all kinds of architecture, a real estate writer and a somewhat recent protestant convert to the Roman Church, I found this book intelligent and appealing at many levels. I have a deep love for orthodoxy and traditional architecture which I have learned in the Catholic Church, but I have also been graced with looking beyond trans-historical spaces to find God and communion in the ACTIONS of the liturgy, the GATHERING of a community, the silence found in open SPACES, modern or not. Andy Warhol may have said it best once that "the best thing to have anywhere is space," and to fill it with art or icons seemed sad---paraphrasing. I now understand what he meant. Gothic Cathedrals served a purpose for educationa and catechism with many pieces parts and light and art. But those days are gone in a fast modern world where we seek the simple. In this book the venerable Crosbie shows sensitivity and respect for each faith and each style. The photographs are stunning, the plans and cut sections are clear and easy to read and decipher; the art direction and clear crisp layouts let the building breath and pray and speak for themselves without heavy academic comments. I may not have liked 100% of the structures, but so little is written about new, working, and smartly done houses for worship this is a Godsend. No pun intended. I highly recommend it to the spiritual enthusiast or student, liturgists, architects, or those who like modern or contemporary structures.
Beautiful and diverse  Jul 26, 2000
A beautiful volume exploring a very diverse collection of religious facilities - small and large, urban and rural, contemporary and traditional. A great primer on design possibilities for Judeo-Christian religious facilities.

The only variant it may be lacking in is ultra-contemporary mega-churches. . . but then, few of those are really pretty to look at.


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