Architect Duncan Stroik was kind enough to send some of the very latest pictures from the new Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel at Thomas Aquinas College. Really a wonderful achievement. In this project, Stroik was able to design it from beginning to end, and the unity of the whole– interior and exterior– really shows. The pieces hold together beautifully, from the spacious sanctuary to the quality of the baldachino and its carved angels. There’s a Florentine purity about the building, which is quite “chaste” as they say about buildings like this. But its whiteness and simplicity is relieved by the drama of the Solomonic columns, as these “swirly” columns are called. (These may be perhaps the first set of four Solomonic columns produced on this scale for fifty or more years). On the baldachino, the fine angels recede from expressive dominance as they should while still remaining present. The sanctuary is large and ample, the altar freestanding, the tabernacle housed in a beautiful tower located on the visual axis of the church and framed by the baldachino. The columns are of genuine marble quarried in Italy–a very rare thing indeed these days. The judicious use of color really makes it stand out in the important places, and the light from the high windows moves across interesting textures and wall surfaces as the day progresses. The connection to the baldachino at St. Peter’s in Rome is crystal clear even as this one takes on an expression of its own for our day and its location in California. Notice too subtleties like the doubling of the columns at the end of the side aisles and the insertion of the second arch. All of this is aside from the fact that Stroik knows how to proportion columns, details and moldings. Most architects don’t.

This is the real thing, friends. A talented architect who specializes in traditional architecture, an astute client, a beautiful location and an adequate budget. Congratulations to Duncan Stroik and to Thomas Aquinas College!

All design by Stroik. Plaster work by Evergreene Studios. Baldachino and sculpture fabricated by Granda Liturgical Arts.