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Oakes: Transcendent space is honest in design, using authentic materials that reflect who the community is.


There’s an honesty and simplicity in the design that I think is essential. I don’t think churches or spaces that are extremely tricky or clever or held together in ways you can’t figure it out work as transcendent spaces. The authenticity is not just in the materials but in the honesty in which the building is built. So you can see how it is held together.

Heimsath: If they know why they come together as a faith community, if they can articulate it, there’s something special that really comes together.

Martof: p22, Live Oak Meetinghouse (Houston) by leslie K. Elkins Architect, photos by Paul Hester; p.23 top left, Wesley Brethren Church (round Top), Architect Unknown, photo by Anat Geva, Phd; bottom left, Anjuman-E-Najmi Islamic Mosque and School (irving), Courtesy Oglesby greenE Architects; bottom right, St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church (austin) by Landry & Landry Architects & Planners, Photo by Duane Landry, FAIA

The materials need to represent who the church is, what is important to them -- and also they have thought about it, and that these materials weren’t just thrown together. Do these materials represent the church?

Fischer: The saddest thing is when I go into a room that’s a church and it’s just a box, that you have no idea what holds it up. You see a drop ceiling, you see walls, and yet you know nothing about the building – I think that’s disheartening to the soul.

Oakes: Transcendent spaces are filled with myth and mystery and the presence of those who worship there.


I think when you make a connection with a transcendent space it’s almost as if the interchange of your spirit and that place leaves your imprint on it. … I think it just gets richer and richer the more that takes place there. There’s a quality that can come to a sacred place that gets enriched by the quality of the people who have worshipped there.


We all want photographs because they are beautiful. …Where are the places that can’t be captured on film? I think those are amazing places. It is more than just the visual. It’s the whole experience of the place. If you’re saying quietness, you can’t get that in a picture. continued on p.47

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Texas Architect Nov/Dec 2007: Sacred Space  
Texas Architect Nov/Dec 2007: Sacred Space  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...