An Article
Blair Johnston

Notre Dame Du Haut, Ronchamp

Cathedral Conversations
Tour Insights
(File size: 3MB)

Herz Jesu, Munich

An ongoing focus of Warren and Mahoney’s design process is ensuring that our work is deeply founded in its local environment, culture and history yet consciously framed in an international context.

Recently, Warren and Mahoney was invited to accompany members of the Anglican Diocese of ChristChurch on a reference tour to experience a range of cathedrals and churches in North America and Europe. Warren and Mahoney's Bill Gregory and Blair Johnston accompanied Bishop Victoria Matthews, acting Dean Lynda Patterson and RCP Project Manager Marcus Read on the tour, visiting a wide range of contrasting spiritual spaces from modern to historic, contemporary to traditional, vast to intimate, ambitious to humble. 

The scale of buildings visited on the tour varied greatly - from the intimacy of Kolumba Chapel to the heroic scale and endeavour of Cologne Cathedral and La Sagrada Familia. The intention was to look past the size of a project in isolation. Regardless of scale, each project adopts a specific attitude towards a series of recurring questions - mission, orientation, procession, proportion, light, invitation, threshold, memory. The objective was to seek small insights from projects of great scale and ambition, and large lessons in projects of more humble intent.

These ‘insights’ were communicated in a tour blog and have been further summarised in the 'Cathedral Conversations' document (see below) which seeks to elicit input from both the Diocese and the wider community into the design of the future ChristChurch Cathedral. 

The physical journey was intensive - 7 countries in 14 days -  visiting 15 buildings of interest and debating the merits and relevance of each. But in many ways, the true value of our tour lies in the journey of Architect and Client. The development of a common understanding, appreciation and 'language', together with a series of shared spatial experiences act as a point of reference for discussions regarding the future of the Cathedral.

Pilgrimage Church, Neviges 

Trinity Church, Rome

Christ the Light, Oakland 

St Mary's of the Assumption, San Francisco

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