Before and After: St. Stanislaus Oratory, Milwaukee

Today I wished to present a before and after that is slightly different. Instead of our usual view of an entire church or sanctuary going from something more modern to traditional, we are today going to mainly consider the altar -- though I will provide some broader views at the end of the piece.

What may not be that easy to see in the photo below is that the altar in the before arrangement had been separated from the tabernacle and reredos.

Another view will give a better sense of this.

One might be tempted to think that one need only re-attach the altar to the reredos in a case like this. Fortunately William Heyer Architect and their client -- the Institute of Christ the King in Milwaukee -- had a broader vision in this regard.  Let's take a look at what they did:

Left: Before    Right: After
Aside from the obvious improvement of re-attaching the altar to the reredos, you can also see that the gradine was widened and now includes pillars that mirror those found on the altar itself. The wider gradine serves to better frame the altar and further gives it greater substantiality and a better overall visual balance.

As well, the unfortunate carpeting that was added around the altar and sanctuary generally has also been removed. The flooring is now not only better acoustically but also includes some noble designs that lead one's eye to the high altar.

Another significant improvement is, without a doubt, the addition of the predella.  In our article, The Neglected Predella: Its Importance for Altar Arrangements, we spoke of various reasons why this is an important inclusion.  I won't repeat all of those arguments here, but suffice it to say that many of the issues of the 'before' arrangement, and benefits of the 'after', that we spoke of in that piece can be seen here.

Here is another view of the before and after.



As promised, here is a slightly wider view of the church. These views will reveal some of the other improvements that were made in the renovation by William Heyer, such as restoring the original sanctuary demarcation and adding further colour to the apse.



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