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Sunday, 05 May 2013 19:49

St. Michael's R. C. Church, Wolverhampton (1966)

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Following graduation from Birmingham School of Architecture in 1965, I returned to my old firm in Manchester - Desmond Williams and Associates with a promise of an associate partnership. My first (and it turned out my only) job, was the detailed design and construction of St. Michael's Church in Wolverhampton. The Church was commissioned shortly after the inauguration of Vatican II in 1962 under Pope John XXIII. This Ecumenical Council set about transforming the rituals of the Church, bringing it more into line with secular expectations. Latin was abandoned as the (universalising) language of the Mass - which was now delivered in the local languages; the position of the altar and the celebrant were changed. Now, instead of a remote priest with his back to his congregation, the celebrant faced across the altar to his flock, who now surrounded the altar. This had the effect of humanising the ritual - making it more accessible and less distancing.
 
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Church Plan
 
These changes were incorporated into the design of St. Michaels. To heighten the drama of the Mass, all external lighting was hidden. Deep reveals shaped by external butresses housed modern floor to ceiling stained glass  windows, and the diffused light from these was supplemented by hidden skylights the lighting diffused and deflected down the brick walls that held up the surrounding ring-beam.
 
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Composite image
 
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The Entrance was unadorned and somewhat austere. The whole building inward-focused
 
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Rear view                                               Interior
 
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Read 22417 times Last modified on Monday, 15 July 2013 10:53

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