Sacred Places Summer 2022 - Page 23

Cathedral of St . John the Baptist Charleston , South Carolina
• Conrad Schmitt Studios , Inc .
In preparation for the 200th anniversary of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina , a committee was formed to evaluate how best to prepare the 1890 cathedral for the celebration . The dramatic Gothic lines provide natural inspiration for a creative new decorative scheme based upon its traditional architecture .
Although the cathedral is monumental , its beauty is also evident in the details . The ornate stencil monogram , surrounded by a crown of thorns , is accompanied by a ring of forty quatrefoils representing the temptations of Christ . A Greek cross completes the pattern . The side shrines contain a modified version of this stencil that feature monograms for the Blessed Mother and St . Joseph . Other subtle patterns depict the scallop shell for St . John the Baptist , the Trinity knot , and the fleur-de-lis , significant to the history and the people of Charleston .
In the apse , the Lamb of God is depicted inside a trefoil design , representing the Holy Trinity . The circular border features acanthus leaves growing from the center , representing the spread of Christ ’ s teachings . The banner reads “ Ecce Agnus Dei ” or “ Behold the Lamb of God ” as John the Baptist said in proclamation as Jesus came to be baptized . The flag of St . George represents the victory of life after death .
“ This project takes the existing architecture and ornament and achieves a complete transformation with just paint and decoration . It is not the same interior , as it uses decoration and depth of color to make a transcendent interior . It is very powerful .”
Conrad Schmitt Studios – Zack Reuter
Contemporary Monastery Wimberley , Texas
• Julia Martinelli
This contemporary monastery focuses on the relationship between solitude and community , privacy and togetherness . The Camaldolese Benedictine monks characterize a form of monasticism defined not only by reclusion , reflection , isolation , and prayer but by immersion in community life , social service and animal care . The design program includes a church , cloister , private chapel , offices , library , refectory , communal kitchen , twenty-four monk cells , a small public event space , and space for work activity that enables the community to generate income for operations .
The design is focused on the daily routines and interactions of the monks , both in seclusion and with each other and caring for livestock . The daily rhythm of “ praying without ceasing ” is interspersed by hard manual labor . Raising and tending the animals requires structure , stability , dedication , and living in solidarity , traits encouraged by the community of monks . There is a small facility for producing goat milk and cheese to sell to the local community . Different spaces include gardens , public spaces of the church , monks ’ quarters , and animal pens . The program is stretched across the sloping site with goats at the highest point , aligned with the church tower . Because the monastery is located on a high point , the goats and tower are most visible — representing community , inclusivity , and monastic life .
“ This design for a monastery , a place that most would associate with isolation , creates a dynamic connection to the community , offering the fruits of labor to the community . The design enhances the engagement . The ensemble of buildings relates to the landscape , creating an opening outdoor room . It ’ s very sensitive place-making , and the project is beautifully rendered .”