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Rainbow enclosed in a symbolic circle | Atelier Štěpán

If an idea waits thirty years to become reality, it’ll probably result in something exceptional. At least this is what happened in the case of Brno’s new Roman Catholic church.

Architect Marek Jan Štěpán has been contemplating building a contemporary church for thirty years. However, he only managed to realize it recently in the middle of one of Brno’s housing estates full of concrete buildings, where a complete church quarter was formed around the temple.

The church of 25 meters diameter and 18.5 meter height is dedicated to beatified Marie Restituta who was born approximately 600 meters from its location. Next to the circle-shaped building, there is a tower with a triangular floor plan and a square-shaped spiritual center, thus all three basic geometric elements are represented in the complex.

The circle has always been a symbol of heaven and eternity, and it also symbolizes wholeness in this case, while also alluding to the Last Supper, when Jesus and the Apostles sat around a table for the last time. The building is otherwise also full of symbols: the triangular opening, for example, serves as a reference to the tear in the Jerusalem temple curtain.

The lights and their various forms of appearance also carry allegoric meanings. Even though the interior of the church is illuminated by natural lights, the source of light cannot be determined by visitors – architect Marek Štěpán explains this as follows: “The light in the church represents the existence of the world beyond our physical experience and the existence of God.“ 

The unique character of the church is provided by its play of light in all colors of the rainbow. The phenomenon comes into being through the colorful, 80 meters long annular window built into the walls supporting the dome. 

The question of the perception of a church is a question of the contemporary perception of the world. For instance, in the baroque period the church interior was completely covered or depicted. It served as a kind of comic book because the visitors were not able to read – so the life of Jesus and of the saints and the stories of the Old Testament were depicted in the church in various forms. Today, the situation is reversed. We live in the world full of easily accessible information, of visual and other sensations attacking us on every front, so the church should serve as a space for contemplation, a space stripped of superfluous visual and other sensations.

– Marek Štěpán.

Source: Linka News (press kit)

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