Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A harmonious environment: a photo essay of Breuer’s St. John’s Abbey, St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.

top: northeast view, north elevation, view from the east and west, interior stained glass. photographs by versluis 2012

Architect Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) gets the credit as the solitary creator of St. John’s Abbey but this beautiful worship space was definitely a team effort—the corner stone reads 1958. Both inside and out this building is a wonderful example of the cogent and sculptural orchestration of curves and straight lines made from molded reinforced concrete.

In the summer of 1969 a writer for Time magazine wrote about the passing of Walter Gropius. According to the writer Gropius believed, “Architecture had to be a collaborative process, with the architect as natural leader of a team including manufacturers of building materials, artists, scientists and sociologists.” [1]

Breuer would certainly concur with Gropius’ sentiment about architecture and in the case of St. John’s Abbey, theologians and engineers could be added to the list.

  1. “Art—Architecture.” Time 18 July 1969: 49-50. Print.

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