Douglas Newby
Architecturally Significant Homes
Horse & Trolly

Architecture Propels Faith

Architect Mark Lemmon designed this Methodist Chapel on the SMU campus in University Park. Sacred spaces invoke a tranquility and appeal that goes beyond their specific discipline. Here the chapel is used for a Catholic Easter vigil starting with lighting of the candles for a procession into the chapel. We see the cathedral of Notre Dame attract more visitors than the Eiffel Tower. Recently, we have seen nonpracticing Catholics and nonbelievers on their knees or weeping at the site of the fire. The sorrow expressed went beyond the loss of architecture and went directly to the faith and feelings that this architecture propelled for so many. I have always loved sacred architecture, whether it is imaginative, modern, or steeped in historical tradition, shiny or rustic. My favorite sacred space is where a birch bark cross, bound together, was placed on the point of a peninsula protruding into a small glacial lake surrounded by virgin forest. Birch bark-covered logs provided the seating and white faded stones lined the path to this transformative spot. Simple or elaborate, architecture and design does more than house or protect, it nourishes.
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