Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Deutsche Romanische Kirchen

I like church architecture. While I admire the technical daring and spectacle of Gothic architecture, I prefer Romanesque churches. And among the churches built in the Romanesque manner, I like the German ones best.

One of German Romanesque's strong points is its design flexibility: that is, its visual vocabulary and structural system allow each church to be very different from the others while recognizably belonging to the same family. If Gothic churches tend to all be sisters, the German Romanesque family would include aunts and nieces. The German churches may have a front main entry, side main entries, or main entries at both ends along with altars at both ends. There may any number of towers in an assortment of shapes and sizes. Within the vocabulary almost anything goes. And if they don't compare well against Gothic's glamor, they more than compensate by their charm and individuality.

A very few of my favorites:

Maria Laach Abbey, so small it needs 2 photos.



Speyer (the town is named after the spires)

Tournai, Belgium (it's not in Germany)

Late in the last century our architectural office (Greene & Associates) designed a 2400-seat Baptist church. For assorted reasons the project borrowed heavily from German Romanesque sources, including the above examples. A few drawings follow.

East Elevation

                      Ground Floor Plan
 South Elevation

A recent photo of the church taken by local photographer Jerry Spain

We do a lot of churches, but rarely have a budget and a client that allows for this kind of project.