Nathaniel Brooks

Posts Tagged ‘Byzantine Architecture’

Byzantine Church Design Salon

In Judson University - Traditional Architecture & Urbanism on December 3, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Monday, December 6

1:00-5:00 pm

Harm A Weber Academic Center, second floor

Judson University

Featuring projects by: Molly Copeland, Drew Gander, Stephen Howard, Hilary Jackson, Loren Johnson, Wyatt Johnson, Richard Nichols, Michael Rabe, and Justin Spackman


Byzantine Church Design Critique II

In Judson University - Traditional Architecture & Urbanism on November 21, 2010 at 10:40 pm

More images of work in progress. Salon Presentation of final presentations December 6, 1-5 pm. Invitations forthcoming…

Byzantine Church Design Critique I

In Judson University - Traditional Architecture & Urbanism, Uncategorized on October 20, 2010 at 7:00 am

St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in Elgin, Illinois recently asked for Judson University’s help in exploring possibilities for improving their campus. Following an extensive survey of the parish a new long-range planning study was completed, which the student designers in Judson’s fourth-year TAU studio are using as the basis for their design research. In addition to a variety of functional improvements, parishioners were clear in their desire for a beautiful temple reflecting the Byzantine heritage of the Orthodox faith that would signify the vibrant faith of their community and become a legacy for the church. Students have been working with the parish priest and various committees, and recently presented schematic concepts for review. Jurors included representatives from the parish committees,   Judson architecture professors Dr. Jhennifer Amundson, Dr. Christopher Miller, and Nathaniel Brooks, as well as TAU studio fellow and Judson graduate student Brian Mork.

Studio Tour: New Gracanica Orthodox Monastery

In Judson University - Traditional Architecture & Urbanism, Uncategorized on September 22, 2010 at 9:03 pm

The Church

In 1984, New Gracanica Church and the main building on the ground, dedicated to the feast of the “Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God”, were completed and consecrated. It is an impressive architectural replica of the old Gracanica of Kosovo, but eighteen percent larger than the one built in 1321 in Serbia. The original Gracanica was commissioned by King Milutin and built in 1321 by three brothers – Djordje, Dobroslav and Nicholas. Architecturally, Gracanica is the supreme achievement and is designed in the Kosmet style. This style was a development of the Macedonian style or cross-in-square. The one difference is that in the Kosmet style, on each corner is a supplementary dome, while in the center is the main dome. New Gracanica is richly attired with detail such as hand-carved wooden entrance doors, which depict twenty-three monasteries and churches from various regions of Serbia, uniting them in image as they are in the hearts and minds of the Serbian people. Domes with crosses, pillars and unique brickwork add to the grandeur of the original Gracanica.

The interior of the church with its carved wooden furnishings, ornate gold and crystal chandeliers, imposing icons and award-winning terrazzo floor create an aura of beauty and serenity. It fulfills the desire of the Orthodox Church to touch the senses, thereby touching the soul. The physical beauty of the church is reflective of the love and commitment the Serbians have for their faith, but the furnishings of the church also serve as symbols of the intrinsic ideas of the religion. Every element from the use of candles to the placement of saints on the iconostas in the church has a significance in the Serbian Orthodox religion.

The Frescoes

In 1995, the fresco project began. Fr. Theodore Jurewicz was commissioned to paint the entire church. The project took three years. Fr. Theodore, one of the most profound and celebrated iconographers in America today, came in stretches of three weeks to a month to do the work. The style is Byzantine and the richly colored designs and religious scenes that cover the walls, vaults, pillars and dome of the church are imbued with bright colors. This is its most distinctive feature. When one walks in, the church reflects brightness, hope, beauty, optimism, life. Described as religiously significant scenes and symbols, icons are painted on wood boards (the typical icon), done as mosaics (in stone, marble or tile) or painted as the frescoes that frequently cover the plastered surfaces of early Orthodox Christian churches. The frescoes painted by Fr. Theodore and other contemporary iconographers are done in acrylics on dry plaster. Formerly they were painted on wet concrete. Fr. Thomas Kazich said, “The frescoes make people feel like the people represented by the images are present. It is also a way to pass down events through the centuries so that even people who are illiterate or don’t read the Bible can visualize and understand what the priest is talking about. In the Orthodox Church we have not just an oral tradition, but also a visual tradition. Iconography represents that visual tradition. Icons are often referred to as ‘the gospel in colors’.” Icons are like windows to heaven. They are windows that take us to another kind of reality. We don’t pray to the images. We pray through them. Fr. Theodore was asked what it means to paint an icon. He said, “Painting an icon is like making a journey from darkness into light. In most paintings, the artist starts light and adds darker shades. In icons you go from dark to light. It is the Byzantine tradition of painting, although you can also think of it theologically as going from the darkness of ignorance to the light of enlightenment.” The frescoes were blessed in October of 1998 by His Holiness Patriarch PAVLE.

Text courtesy New Gracanica Monastery