Today’s project takes its impetus from the tithe barn (Fr. grange dimiere), medieval structures used to collect villagers’ tithes, which prior to the proliferation of cash was often given as a portion (one tenth) of the individual’s harvest. These cumulative tithes required an elaborate barn to store them for safekeeping throughout the following year. The structures are fabulous syntheses of the ecclesiastical and the secular – large, windowless stone or brick fortresses with soaring trussed, nave-like, roofs.
Barn conversions are fascinating to me, with the domesticization of the agricultural, and the tithe barn is no less so. This project attempts to take the typical tithe barn and meet it with the domestic, with a large enclosed courtyard to compliment the truss-framed living room.
Sitting in a local coffee shop, I began to wonder the great ‘what if’, and sketched out how I would have solved the problem. Starting with a square (shocker), I drew out a central nave, complete with side aisles and a high altar – a wall of single origin small batch coffees complete with a cash wrap. Sculptural skylights cut into the ‘nave’, while exposed lamps hang along the bottom of the ‘aisle’ soffits, not unlike old theatre marquees. Grab a cup. Stay awhile. Amen.
Continuing the formal explorations of the German hallenkirche typology of a few weeks ago, today I’ll share some more detailed takes: from a traditional half plan and section to oblique wormseye axonometrics and a section of the Brunelleschi-esque cupola with half a traditional oblique axon on one side and a womseye axon on the other. These interrogations of representation are not just fun to draw, but actually aid in figuring out exactly how the timber roof is made up, and how that roof relates to the overall modular system.
Most of the church forms I’ve featured have been basilicas – that is, long linear rooms with clearly defined axes and a higher central nave with lower side aisles. But recently, I tried to reconcile my basilican interests with my predilection for squares. Enter two historical church types based on the nine-square motif: the German hallenkirche (hall church), where there is no clear distinction between nave and aisles, but rather a large, open ‘hall’ of columns with extensive windows on all sides, and the Greek cross-in-square, in which a cruciform church plan is contained in a square form, with a large dome over the central crossing. This project fuses the two, with an intense wood roof structure that attempts to read as both the hallenkirche and the cross-in-square in one, and goes even further to render the space as a cube.
O. M. Ungers and Richard Meier play the primary instigators in terms of language of this basilica – minus the Doric impluvium entry courtyard, of course. The front elevation/plan drawing shows shadows that hint at both wormseye and oblique axonometric projections. Structure and tectonics play a central role where pipe and wide flange columns slide back and forth next to one another, while small circular side chapels cut into the deep poche of the stone walls.
Santa Maria del Naranco was not built as a church, but rather a palace, and is thus an atypical church plan. My interpretation of it is devoid of any ecclesiastical use, and reverts back to a folly. I’ve stripped it of the Romanesque ornament and overlaid a Grecian pediment, corners similar to the Monadnock Building in Chicago, and stripped modernist interiors.
This church type is actually a collection of types – a Colonial American meeting house makes up the sanctuary, while flanked with the choir and apse of a more traditional Anglican church, accessed by an almost domestic-scaled atrium. The level of detail and poche changes with each individual element.
Or rather, his Singakademie sings. . . or something like that.
A standard basilica form sits completely within a Greek-gabled stone volume, but with a wonderful circular stepped dias for the vocalists (er, singers). This circular form is duplicated in the barrel vaulting at the ceiling. A Doric peristyle surrounds. I’ve overlaid plans, sections, and elevations on one another to show the full effect. A similar theme pervades the church design shown below.
In a final touch upon the last few posts here (this one, this one, and these two), I just up and slapped Richardson and Nervi on top of one another, aligning the square towers of each project, and highlighting the enormous piers (inner squares are from Trinity, the other ones are St. Mary).
Where the previous project offered more of a synthesis between the modern and the classical in terms of style, this one poses a synthesis between types – structuring a basilica form with equal transepts, similar to a Greek cross. This hybrid typology is not new, and can be found in early Christian churches, such as San Nazaro in Brolo or the Basilica di San Marco in Venice. Stylistically, my interpretation takes cues from H. H. Richardson, with thick masonry walls, continuous cornice lines, and a large hip roof, which obscures the tower over the crossing from the outside. Below are earlier studies of a similar plan with much different attitudes towards envelope.