Beautifying America's Mid-Century Churches

 
 
 

Developing purpose and permanence: midcenturychurches.com

Traditional and sacred beauty is not limited to churches built 100 years ago, though mid-century and modern churches do not typically feature artwork, decorative painting, and ornamental plaster, we believe that sacred buildings must reflect and honor the Divine in every age and every style of architecture. When we approach a beautification project, we do not seek to change the architectural design of the church rather to expand on the style, adding decoration in the same design as the building. Beautification is not difficult nor does the process need to be expensive however, a strategic and carefully developed design is integral in achieving a cohesive and beautiful completed project. The new design should not look new in the sense that it stands out, the new design must incorporate the surroundings and give a sense of permanence and unity .

Our latest website and resource, Beautifying America’s Mid-Century Churches, explains our design process and philosophy in regards to mid-century and modern churches. The possibilities for beautification in new structures are endless, their blank walls are the canvas on which the mysteries of the Faith should be illustrated. Just because something is not done, does not mean that it should not be done and we are determined to bring sacredness back into churches regardless the era in which they were built. On the website, several of our projects are outlined and explained in order to better understand the design process and the production of a new design. Renderings from different stages of the project are displayed to illustrate the changes in development. From white walls and abstract shapes to contemplative and directive artwork, these churches and chapels transform, proudly displaying the images and stories of their traditions and Faith.

 
 

our design Philosophy

When we approach a beautification project, we do not seek to change the architectural design of the church rather to expand on the style, adding decoration in the same design as the building. Owen Jones’s first proposition in the Grammar of Ornament has been our guiding philosophy, “the Decorative Arts arise from, and should properly be attendant upon, Architecture.” Mid-Century and modern architecture is typically very simple and features minimal decoration and artwork. All the decoration for mid-century and modern designs should follow along with the simple architecture but does not need to be limited to bare plaster walls; decoration completes the architecture. The possibilities for decorative work in newer churches are endless, we are capable of putting those ideas on paper to conceptualize the project. Learn More.

Our Artistic Process

Proper design process is vital to the correct execution of our philosophy. When developing a new design for a church, we sketch out the ideas on paper eventually creating a beautiful illustration of one possibility for the space. Renderings are a way of placing artwork and design ideas into the space and act as a visual conversation of ideas between the designer, the priest and often, the congregation. We work with priests through the design phase in order to create color schemes, designs and artwork fitting to the architecture of the church. The renderings can be either computer generated or hand painted and acts as an excellent way to visualize the end goal. Once the design is approved, the work begins and the church is transformed from seemingly secular to distinctly sacred. Learn More.

 
 

Read about some of our mid-century projects:

 

Elegant Simplicity

This little chapel is mid-century in design and originally possessed very few decorative features. The idea here was to create a contemplative and holy atmosphere for those coming to visit with Our Lord.

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Culture, Tradition & Beauty

With hot summers and mild winters, this Arizona church set in the desert sands of southern America has a vibrant Mexican heritage and growing congregation.

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Traditional Design, Modern Amenities

Archbishop Broglio brought in the beautiful alter and the carrera marble statues that flank the altar. These pieces set the tone for the designs Canning developed in order to transform the chapel.

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Distinctly Catholic, Simply Beautiful

This chapel is adjacent to a Catholic high school. The chapel was designed in the same institutional style as the classrooms and there are few distinctions between an auditorium and this space.

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Grace Moran