Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Friday, 14 April 2017

Stations2017: St Stephen Walbrook & St Paul's Cathedral

Testing in readiness for Stations2017

St Stephen Walbrook, designed by Christopher Wren in 1672, accommodates the first classical dome to have been built in England and was his prototype for the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. Wren designed his churches to be ‘auditories’ in which everyone present could see, hear and feel themselves part of the congregation. For Stations2017 this architectural relationship provides a physical and interpretive context for the premiere of new work by Mark Dean and Lizzi Kew Ross & Co, curated by Lucy Newman Cleeve.
Professor Kerry Downes wrote:

"In 1672 St. Paul’s had occupied Wren’s mind for nine years, first as a matter of restoration and modernisation, and later as one of totally replacing the old cathedral. The first design he presented four years after the Fire, in 1670, was for no more than a large parish church with a nave and side galleries, attached to a large domed vestibule which had as much to do with his enthusiasm for domes as with the needs of ceremonial assembly. The domed churches he had seen in France had excited him – for there were none in England at this time – and must have engaged his emotions as well as appealing to his intellectual appreciation of the geometry of solids and voids. But at this stage he had not yet come to imagine the Cathedral as a building which would differ from parish churches, not merely in size and scale, but also essentially in kind. This realisation came to him in 1672, when he began working on a sequence of designs that culminated in the ‘Great Model’ still preserved at St. Paul’s. These were designs more radical, more European, and more unified than the ultimate one, in which he was made to compromise by incorporating the nave and transepts of a traditional Latin cross plan. Even so, what we see today inside St. Paul’s centres round a large dome carried on eight piers. Both the Great Model and the final solution show a quality of mind, of feeling as well as of intellect, for which St. Stephen’s provided a kind of dress rehearsal in visual terms. The structural problems between the two buildings were quite different, for the dome and vaults of the Cathedral are all of masonry, whereas those of St. Stephen’s are, as in all the parish churches, lath and plaster facings on elaborate carpentry frames. Wren could therefore design the Church with much smaller supports, giving an unparalleled feeling of lightness of weight and brightness of illumination. He was able to make the eight arches equal in span and to introduce light through all of them, whereas in St. Paul’s the requirements of supporting the enormously tall and heavy landmark of the dome meant that the diagonal arches had to be smaller and windowless. Even so, at St. Paul’s a ring of eight equal semicircular arches, coming down to acute points, is marked on the masonry by moulding; it is both a survival and a reminder of the conception Wren had tried out at Walbrook."

Please book free tickets in advance from: and

Laban Theatre & Lizzi Kew-Ross - Without Warning.

No comments: