Skip to main page content

The Chapel of Saint André : ancient and modern patterns

My Session Status

3:00 PM, Thursday 26 May 2022 (20 minutes)

At first glance the little chapel of Saint André appears to be a very simple building. Sitting in the shadows of the Oratoire Saint-Joseph, it is perhaps often overlooked. However, the chapel has several unique design elements that, I believe, reveal a distinctly modern spatial understanding of the religious experience. The general organization of the chapel is nevertheless at its base traditional. The inherent symbolism repeats the spatial pattern long established by the tabernacle of Moses. Therefore, the end towards which the chapel attunes a lived sense of space is similar to other churches within the tradition.

However, as many theorists like Peter Sloterdijk have noted, we have developed in modernity a conflicting sense of space to the pre-modern. I argue that in the chapel of Saint-André this modern sense of space shows up in the architecture of the saints room on the second floor, and its relationship to the altar on the ground floor below. To examine this configuration, and to discuss how perceptions of space differ from the pre-modern, I also draw upon the work of British philosopher Owen Barfield. Ultimately, I argue that the chapel repeats traditional symbolism, but also contains a unique architectural response that belies Saint André’s modern relationship with the divine. The goal of this study is to better understand the function of the church building type, how it affects imaginative perception, and what new problems and opportunities arise in the modern cultural context.

My Session Status

Send Feedback

Session detail
Allows attendees to send short textual feedback to the organizer for a session. This is only sent to the organizer and not the speakers.
To respect data privacy rules, this option only displays profiles of attendees who have chosen to share their profile information publicly.

Changes here will affect all session detail pages