Author Archives: John Holzheimer

Final Project

P3

Promenade Model

St. Monica’s – the course of a day

Very well, let’s take a walk. As of yet, there is not much to see. Darkness, still veiling the impending day, shrouds everything in a dark cloud. You have been in more churches than you can count, but all you see right now is a simple office, seemingly leading into another non-descript space.  It is dawn, that time right before sunrise when you know the new day will soon be bright, warm, and inviting. But right now there is still dew on the ground, and a veil hovering over everything. Walking down a long corridor, which you now know is the last link before entering the church; dawn is swiftly turning to day. This moment between dawn and day is striking, there is a perception and feeling of what is to come, but it is not yet there. At the end of the hallway, a door is opened, and the sun begins to peak over the horizon.

Passing through the threshold, the sun rises. You enter into the worship space. Dramatic verticality is immediately the focus here: the sun does not rise in a horizontal motion. Windows and columns draw your eye upward, towards the striking light. Taking a few more steps into the space, time has fast-forwarded. From the covering darkness of dawn you have entered into high noon. Light is perceived from all corners, a vast expanse of space that draws your eyes upward, towards the source. The first word that comes to your mind is angelic; beautiful angelic light spreading out all around you: The focal point of the church, and the focal point of the day. Light and warmth is spreading out all around you, and it is meant to be basked in all day.

After a long day of sun, nature has developed a beautiful sequence to segway into night: sunset. Passing through the openness of the worship space, you get a last glimpse of the beautiful light above you. The rose window towers above you, the beautiful colors becoming the colors of the most serene sunset. The threshold is rapidly approaching, just as the brightest sunset gets swiftly swallowed in darkness. Walking through this threshold of night and day, the perception of the space is entirely reversed: night turns to day. Like awakened owls roosting in the rafters, large columns give rhythm to this entrance sequence. Darkness weakens your perception, so you now feel enclosed in this new space.

The course of the day provides a sense of cyclical rhythm. One segment of the day leads into another. St. Monica’s acts in the same way. The columns high above act as repetitious elements that are repeated, in a different orientation, in the entrance. Walking through this building, you can’t help but feel the changing times of day.

Very well, let’s take a walk. As of yet, there is not much to see. From past experiences, you know that there should be something, but all you see is a hallway. It is as if it is dawn, that time right before sunrise when you know the new day will soon be bright, warm, and inviting. This moment between night and day is striking. It is a time of imagination: you know what you are going to see, but you cannot yet see it.

Very well, let’s take a walk. You have now passed through to the threshold. As the sun rises, you enter into the worship space. Time has fast-forwarded. From the covering darkness of dawn you have entered into high noon. Light is perceived from all corners, a vast expanse of space that draws your eyes upward, towards the source. It is easily conceivable to spend the whole day staring up into the vastness of the sun.

Very well, let’s take a walk. After a long day of sun, nature has developed a beautiful sequence to segway into night: sunset. Passing through the openness of the worship space, the threshold is approached: sunrise is rapidly approaching, and you are content with the impending interval of darkness. Entering the entrance space of the church, night has arrived. After a full day in the sun, exploring the vast volumes that daylight had to offer, you are okay with ending the journey in darkness.