A Preview of Civium Architects Work in St. Mary's, Kansas

David Heit of the Kansas-based Civium Architects recently held a private open house for their newly constructed church in St. Mary's, Kansas.  The project highlights the fact that traditional architecture, even on a larger scale, remains entirely possible within our own times. What it takes is the will and the determination in order to see a project done.

The church itself follows a Romanesque style and is in a Latin cruciform plan. So it is then that we see a nave, separated by Romanesque columns, aisles (sometimes also called "naves") found to either side. At the crossing is the cupola which leads us to the sanctuary which has been demarcated by an altar rail -- akin to the balustrade of the Romanesque churches of old.  The main aisle floor contains some echoes of cosmatesque style ornament. 

The altar freestanding but is designed with a traditional ad orientem orientation in mind. It also has no gradines and in general one might say it is a Roman basilica style altar less the ciborium magnum . Obviously in this instance the church and altar is not yet consecrated so no candlesticks or other altar ornaments are yet in place in these photos. 

Set behind the altar are various murals, the central most depicting the Agnus Dei as well as green marble columns surrounding the sanctuary. 

The altar itself is made of white, blue and yellow marbles with a central design in the latter depicting the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These marbles and their colours are not used anywhere else within the church, thereby accentuating the singular and central importance of the altar within the building. 

The ambo:

The church is set into a Latin cross as mentioned and at its centre is a twelve-sided cupola which includes a depiction of the Virgin Mary along with five angels of the Apocalypse and four cherubs representing the four winds. The twelve sides of the cupola symbolize the twelve stars  of the crown that made with to the 'woman clothed in the sun' (i.e. the Virgin Mary) mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

Beneath the cupola are four depictions showing scenes of the life of the Virgin Mary, taken from the gospels along with symbolic depictions of each of the Four Evangelists. 

The ceiling of the nave itself, just visible here, is coffered and contains symbols of the Sacraments, while the ceiling outside of the nave contain various Marian symbols. 

The columns lining the nave include beautiful floriated Romanesque capitals that include Marian and Christological symbols, while the arcades above are painted with decorative pattern work. 

Finally, a few general views of the exterior.

For those who would like more specifics on the project, I'd invite you to click on this image below which contains in depth details.

The total budget for the project was just over $42 million dollars and the church will have a maximum seating capacity of 3,100.  The church also includes various chapels and a cry room. It took six years to plan and ultimately construct. 

For more information, please visit Civium Architects website or see them on social media

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