Precedent Analysis – St. Henry’s, Turku, Finland


Brilliant concept model by Anna Green…capturing how architecture and landscape are held in delicate balance

We wrapped up our first project of the DIS Architecture and Design summer studio, which was a precedent analysis of St. Henry’s in Turku: a chapel we will visit next week on our study tour through Scandinavia. I worked with Anna Green, an arch major from the University of Oregon, and Christy Amanda Veronica, an interior architecture student who will attend RISD in the fall.

Detail Model showing space and construction – Matthew Darmour-Paul, Christy Amanda Veronica
the materials are all represented here…from the pine of the interior to the copper panels of the exterior

In In preparation for our analysis I read a book called ‘Sacral Space – Modern Finnish Churches’, in particular an essay by Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen. The following quote became an important point of departure for the diagrammatic study:

“Holiness is one of the essential qualities of human life. It has been seen to represent an organised reality alongside the chaos of life. The emotions: fear, power, energy, incomprehension, attraction, immenseness and humility are the qualities associated with holiness. Experiencing it is at once mystic, fascinating and awesome. Within it individual experience encounters universality. It embodies the possibility of being in contact with the other world beyond the mundane everyday life. Architecture, even as organised reality, can be the fabric of holy experience, if only the qualities touching the emotions are present in the space.” -Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen, Sacral Space, 2003

The diagrams start to abstract these qualities that can accommodate a spiritual experience. The book and the projects offered an exciting new angle into sacred spaces, and I am eager to visit the 6+ chapels and churches on our trip.

The difference between inside and outside here is more about material than form
axial alignments symbolize moments of power, from the alignment of gravities in planetary bodies, to Mussolini’s fantasy axis extending the power of the church to the Tiber and Palace of Justice after signing the Lateran Pact
this diagram shows what I believe is the slightly unnerving quality that acute angles exude…a danger that demands our attention

Check out pictures of the space here, and here.

Tonight is Sankt Hans in Copenhagen, so the city will be full of music, drinking and bonfires! Looking forward to a fire on Amager Beach to celebrate the conclusion of our first presentation.

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