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Bringing Beauty Back

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Duncan Stroik’s New Classical Architecture is cropping up in churches around the country

Duncan G. Stroik is committed to bringing beauty back to church buildings. A graduate of the University of Virginia with a master’s degree in architecture from Yale University, Stroik worked in the office of Allan Greenberg before joining the Notre Dame School of Architecture, where he helped design a new curriculum of classical architecture. He is the founder of the Institute for Sacred Architecture (and its journal, Sacred Architecture) as well as the author of The Church Building as a Sacred Place: Beauty, Transcendence and the Eternal.

ST NICHOLAS GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH, New York, New York. Located adjacent to the World Trade Center in New York City, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the only house of worship to be destroyed. Duncan Stroik was one of eight architects invited to submit a design for the private design competition. The goal of the design was for this church to be an expression of faith and a memorial for the fallen.
Duncan G. Stroik Architect, LLC
SAINT NICHOLAS GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH, New York, New York. Located adjacent to the World Trade Center in New York City, Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks -- the only house of worship to be destroyed. Duncan Stroik was one of eight architects invited to submit a design for the private design competition. The goal of the design was for this church to be an expression of faith and a memorial for the fallen.

Working in the tradition of New Classical Architecture, Stroik has many projects to his credit. Among them is the first classical chapel to be built on a college campus in the United States — Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity at Thomas Aquinas College in Ojai, California — and the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, which is considered the grandest classical church built in decades.

Currently, Stroik is working on a $28 million, 1300-seat chapel for a college in Michigan that will include a masonry dome, interior limestone columns, and two world-class organs.

Stroik just became this year’s winner of the prestigious Arthur Ross Award — the oldest award for classical architecture in the United States.

SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE, La Crosse, WI. Baldacchino - Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Duncan G. Stroik Architect, LLC
SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE, La Crosse, WI. Baldacchino, Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
CHAPEL OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL AND SAINT JOSEPH Christoval, Texas This new limestone chapel for Carmelite hermits is inspired by the early Christian tradition and the architectural character of Texas.  The interior includes a nave to accommodate 150 worshipers and generous side aisles, a spacious sanctuary with a high altar and retablo, and a choir that is screened off from view to accommodate eighteen hermits.  The high altar is framed by life-sized statues of Elijah and Elisha, and two large thermal windows bring light into the sanctuary from above.  A timber truss spans the nave and choir and a plaster sail vault crowns the sanctuary.
CHAPEL OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL AND SAINT JOSEPH, Christoval, Texas. This new limestone chapel for Carmelite hermits was inspired by the early Christian tradition and the architectural character of Texas. The interior includes a nave to accommodate 150 worshipers and generous side aisles, a spacious sanctuary with a high altar and retablo, and a choir that is screened off from view to accommodate eighteen hermits. The high altar is framed by life-sized statues of Elijah and Elisha, and two large thermal windows bring light into the sanctuary from above. A timber truss spans the nave and choir and a plaster sail vault crowns the sanctuary.
St. Paul Cathedral, St. Paul, MN Organ Case - Joe Hilliard
Joe Hilliard
ST. PAUL CATHEDRAL, St. Paul, MN. Organ Case, Joe Hilliard.
CHAPEL OF THE HOLY CROSS, Tampa, Florida. Jesuit High School, founded in Tampa, Florida in 1899, moved to its current campus in 1956 to continue educating young men in the Jesuit tradition. The Chapel of the Holy Cross, to be dedicated in 2017, is a brick and limestone chapel inspired by the Jesuit tradition and by the centralized form of the existing Saint Anthony’s Chapel. It is designed to seat 900 and will provide a transcendent space for the Holy Liturgy and for daily convocations of the student body. The facade is composed of a limestone Doric portico and niches to accommodate Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Francis Xavier. The interior stained glass windows are related to the passion and the shedding of blood. The four corner shrines are dedicated to Jesuit martyrs: Saint Isaac Jogues, Saint Edmund Campion, Blessed Miguel Pro, and Saint Paul Miki, and the inscription over the sanctuary arch is taken from the liturgy on Good Friday: “Ecce lignum crucis in quo salus mundi pependit - Venite adoremus.”  Above the tabernacle altar is a painting of the scene at La Storta, where Saint Ignatius received a vision of God the Father and Christ holding the cross and was told by Christ “Ego tibi Romae propitius ero.”
CHAPEL OF THE HOLY CROSS Tampa, Florida Jesuit High School, founded in Tampa, Florida in 1899, moved to its current campus in 1956 to continue educating young men in the Jesuit tradition. The Chapel of the Holy Cross, to be dedicated in 2017, is a brick and limestone chapel inspired by the Jesuit tradition and by the centralized form of the existing Saint Anthony’s Chapel. It is designed to seat 900 and will provide a transcendent space for the Holy Liturgy and for daily convocations of the student body. The facade is composed of a limestone Doric portico and niches to accommodate Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Francis Xavier. The interior stained glass windows are related to the passion and the shedding of blood. The four corner shrines are dedicated to Jesuit martyrs: Saint Isaac Jogues, Saint Edmund Campion, Blessed Miguel Pro, and Saint Paul Miki, and the inscription over the sanctuary arch is taken from the liturgy on Good Friday: “Ecce lignum crucis in quo salus mundi pependit - Venite adoremus.” Above the tabernacle altar is a painting of the scene at La Storta, where Saint Ignatius received a vision of God the Father and Christ holding the cross and was told by Christ “Ego tibi Romae propitius ero.”
CHAPEL
CHAPEL OF THE HOLY CROSS Tampa, Florida Jesuit High School.
St. Mary Church, Norwalk, CT - Winton Studios
WInton Studios
ST. MARY CHURCH, Norwalk, CT - Winton Studios

 

ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE, Spartanburg, SC. Corinthian capitals, Firewater Photography
St. Paul the Apostle, Spartanburg, Corinthian capitals - Firewater Photography

 

All renderings in this article are by Duncan G. Stroik Architect, LLC. Special thanks to Caroline Cole of Duncan Stroik Architects for her assistance with this piece.

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