21st Century English Medieval Revival: Syon Abbey in Virginia

One of the most interesting projects of contemporary gothic revival in the first decade of the 21st century was no doubt Syon Abbey -- a Benedictine abbey located near Roanoke, Virginia. The project was executed by Ethan Anthony of the architectural firm, Cram and Ferguson, being begun in the year 2000 and completed in the year 2007. It is a project I had written about around the time it was completed and my mind continues to come back to it from time to time.

Cram and Ferguson describe the project accordingly:
Syon Abbey is a community of Benedictine monks located on the first ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, near Roanoke. In early 2000, Hoyle, Doran, and Berry was commissioned to design a Gothic Church and supporting monastic buildings. The designs were inspired by our study of ruined English monasteries. Constructed from imported Spanish limestone, the monastery was completed in the fall of 2007.
Of course, it is hard to not be enchanted by the monastic dimension of this project, not to mention the extremely beautiful and serene landscape which surrounds the monastery; add to that the charm of the limestone that reflects the glow of the morning and evening light so warmly and the Merton College like qualities of the abbey's bell tower and quadrangle, and you have that typical monastic intersection of natural and architectural beauty.

A view of the front of the abbey church
The quadrangle/cloister
Another view of courtyard and the Mertonian bell tower
Moving to the interior of the abbey church, we are greeted by a medieval Cistercian like environment that is both simple and ornamental. The limestone that gives the exterior of the abbey church such character also graces the interior of the abbey church, giving the entire building a warmth despite its relative austerity. Added further to that is a beautiful open wooden rafter ceiling in the basilica tradition.

Looking toward the high altar. (One can see the real potential here for the use of antependia and traditional candlesticks for  emphasizing the centrality of the altar.)
A look back toward the rose window and entrance. This photo was taken during the construction phase of the abbey.
The rose window over the main church door.
A better view of the beautiful wooden rafters and rose window
To get a sense of the abbey's surroundings, here is an image of one of the monks atop the abbey's bellower.

As noted already, the pastoral setting in which this abbey finds itself is nothing short of ideal for a monastic community.

The beautiful limestone caught either at dusk or dawn.
To my mind, a very strong approach to contemporary gothic revival. One can likewise see how well this church will age with a bit of time and patina.

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