Book Launch: Building the Modern Church
The Glasgow School of Art

Event Type:


Principal Seminar Room 1, Reid Building


28 May 2014
18:00 - 21:00



Book launch from GSA lecturer
Dr Robert Proctor

Book Launch: Building the Modern Church

Event info

Book launch: Dr Robert Proctor - Building the Modern Church

A seminar and exhibition, with speakers Dr Robert Proctor, Judi Loach and Richard Brook
Principal Seminar Room, Reid Building, The Glasgow School of Art
28 May 2014, 6pm, free entry

Building the Modern Church: Roman Catholic Church Architecture in Britain, 1955 - 1975 is the culmination of a research project by Mackintosh School of Architecture lecturer Dr Robert Proctor. The book is a general survey that covers the most important themes for understanding the extraordinary burst of innovation and creativity in church design that took place in this period. The central thesis is that the church building is not only an expression of the institutional Church but also contributes to constructing it socially.

The book begins with a discussion of how tradition was perceived and adhered to in church architecture even into the 1960s, with new takes on conventional styles. It then looks at how and why modernism in architecture became acceptable and appealing to Church authorities, and at how different forms of modern architecture could express different messages that the Church wished to convey. There is a chapter discussing the integration of modern church art into architecture. The book then moves on to discuss the relationships between church architecture and liturgy. This includes a fine-grained discussion of both the movement amongst church architects to understand the liturgy and respond to changing conceptions of it, and the incremental changes that took place in liturgical practice itself. The following two chapters counter a purely liturgical movement approach by investigating other aspects of the use of churches, particularly for devotional practices including pilgrimage.

The book concludes with a chapter whose thesis is that the Church’s conception of its relationship to the secular sphere is reflected in the church building’s relationship to its urban context. At the same time the chapter shows how this physical relationship could also coincide with the wishes of modern architects and town planners.