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Religious architecture: new questions / new approaches I

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Regular session
9:00 AM, Thursday 26 May 2022 (1 hour 30 minutes)
Break (copy)   10:30 AM to 11:00 AM (30 minutes)

Over the past twenty or so years, the architecture of churches in Quebec and across Canada has triggered new and increasingly pressing questions: how should we approach their conservation, use, or meaning in a context where religious practice is in sharp decline, where the economic situation of parishes is prompting hasty decisions, and where radical versions of secularism are being imposed in the public space? These new questions call for different ways of thinking about the historic value of these buildings today, and it is the goal of this session to share these new ways of seeing.  For example, in what ways did church building influence transformations in architectural practice in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? Who were the designers (architects and non-architects), artists, and entrepreneurs for whom the construction of religious buildings was the springboard to an important career? How does the study of religious architecture allow us to better understand the formation of cultural identities in a context of modernization and rapid urbanization of a traditional society? How can we document the reception of these churches by the public for which they were originally intended? How are these churches perceived today, by a public that has abandoned religious practice? How is the restoration of a church to be conceived when its original function is no longer sufficient to ensure its maintenance and survival? 
All these questions and many others emerge from a context where the news media remind us of the fragility of the fate of churches, whether to reveal an upcoming demolition, denounce acts of vandalism or, on the contrary, highlight the success of a transformation project. It is important to share and pool these new ways of seeing, and researchers whose work contributes in one way or another to the renewal of research perspectives on churches are invited to submit a proposal.

Sub Sessions

9:00 AM - 9:20 AM | 20 minutes

This thesis is based on an examination of abandoned church buildings in Saskatchewan that were built during the second wave of immigration to that province. It proceeds with an inquiry into their architectural purpose at a time when they are no longer in use, and examines the meaning of these places as ruins, as mnemonic devices for contemporary man, and as a reminder of loss.Eighteenth century thinker Gianbattista Vico’s theory of the “cycle of history” serves as a structuring theo...

9:30 AM - 9:50 AM | 20 minutes

Les églises - en dehors du culte - conservent quelque chose d’éminemment distinct pour les visiteurs. Qu’elles soient petites ou grandes, elles produisent des effets qu’on ne retrouve généralement pas dans d’autres types d’architecture. Elles ont laissé des empreintes fortes sur ceux et celles qui les ont fréquentées, mais leurs qualités spécifiques façonnent une expérience en elle-même significative.Cette communication rendra compte d’une recherche en cours qui entend approfondir l...

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