CMR readers may remember a series on architectural theology some months back centered around a new church being built outside of Kansas City, Kansas. The Church of Saint Michael the Archangel was designed by David Meleca of Columbus, Ohio with Treanor Architects of Kansas City. Meleca has been something of a “sleeper” in the traditional church building world, not garnering much publicity, but designing many new classical Catholic churches in recent years. One week from tomorrow, St. Michael’s will be dedicated by Archbishop Naumann.
There has been some news of late in the classical church world with the construction of Duncan Stroik’s Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and chapel at Thomas Aquinas College. But here we see a large classical church built at the parish level by a trained classical specialist, with an ample budget, a dedicated pastor and parish staff, and a liturgical/theological consultant (myself–if I may say so) with an interest in the building in sacramental and eschatological terms.
Since church architecture is the built form of theology, and people disagree on theology, there will be some varying opinions on the design, especially the interior which has seating on three sides and the “platform” sanctuary–more on that in a later post. But the parish asked for a church that would clearly be connected with the Roman tradition while looking like it belonged in Kansas, and the design certainly does that. Certain features got “value engineered” (ie: cut) out of the design, most notably the octagonal crossing tower. But the semi-detached baptistery reads nicely from the outside and the front facade still shows its two pediments, properly proportioned columns, genuine modilions, an expensive tile roof and bronze doors. Stay tuned for more on the interior….