Before and After: St. Martin's in Tower, Minnesota

King Richard's Liturgical Design and Consulting recently unveiled a "before and after" project they worked on, this one hailing from St. Martin's in Tower, Minnesota. Here is a little of what they had to say about the project:
Another 1960s modern church turns to KR (King Richard's) to make their Sacred Space a little more traditional. KR worked timelessly staying within the confines of the modern architecture designs there... Scope of work at this Catholic Church included a very large reredos with real gold leaf rays behind the crucifix, real gold leaf (not painted) ambo, chairs, 2 beautiful matching statue niches, station frame, pair of large altar railings all made from quartered oak. All of the lettering, symbols, Sacred Hearts and other details are carved wood. Lastly, we supplied the very large new metal and brass Tabernacle. 
Here is a slightly wider view of the church in its before and after configurations.



The renovation in question adds the element of verticality and centrality to the altar that is so critical in so much good church design. This is accomplished both through the predella and particularly through the reredos structure behind. Given the profound impact this has had on the church (and yet, at the same time, given how much of the church remained structurally the same as it was before), I believe this demonstrates just how impactful and influential these characteristics are.

Here is a slightly closer look at the reredos itself -- which incorporates the previous wall crucifix into its design.

The wood employed here is of very nice colour, meshing well with the existing woodwork found around the rest of the church.

In an echo of the tradition of a side altar of Our Lady and St. Joseph, shrines were added on either side of the altar. Normally I might be tempted to skip such additions so close the altar and reredos, but I believe in this instance it has successfully added a layer of traditional detail that more seamlessly eases the eye into the rest of the structure.

A very simple and nicely executed renovation that not only gives the church a more traditional ordering, it also lends itself to the importance and focus that the altar and sacrifice demand.

For more information, visit King Richard's.

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