A lot of British people have this idealised view of what buildings should look like that is made up of mock Tudor stylings and old medieval castles. People with this view usually say that old modern buildings are abominably ugly without thinking twice. I like to think that Bristol's Catholic Cathedral challenges the view that a building has to be old to be beautiful.
The Church is an angular concrete thing with large stained glass windows on all sides (these are a treat to see in the evenings). Some people might look at it and think car park, but I would say its breath taking. Challenging is a word sometimes euphemistically to describe modern art, but its appropriate here. Its jarring to see a Church look so non-traditional, especially as its surrounded by Georgian terraces. Similarly, the layout inside differs from many other churches I've been too. I'll direct you to the website on this though. I'm not religious and couldn't even name half the things in here. This is a brave building that presents a different conception of what a Church should look like.
How the council ever gave permission for this testament to a lapse in architectural progression i have absolutely no idea. It sticks out like a sore thumb against the big Georgian town houses that line Clifton's streets.
The one thing i will say is that the space on the inside is impressive, and probably the only thing that makes this place feel like a church and not a factory.
A thoroughly modern (well I presume it would have seemed so in the 60s or whenever it was originally built) cathedral in the heart of Clifton's beautifully preserved Georgian terraced houses...yes, it sticks out like a sore thumb with its protruding metal spire.
It's not horrendously ugly, more just relatively unappealing. In some ways it's become quite endearing now, as an ill-advised modernist attempt to bring postwar functionalist architecture to a religious institution, making it look like a factory or ugly government building.
Brave it is indeed, but years have passed since this kind of thing was considered radical and it's now just starting to look a little shabby, outdated and silly.
First time I saw this building, I thought it was an absolute monstrosity. However, having been around the area for over a decade now, it has become part of a very familar landscape that I will treasure for life. Being from a Catholic background, I have gone in a couple of times, and the vast space within is really quite breathtaking.
This building in Clifton is an absolute monstrosity - it actually looks like the East Germans snuck over during the Cold War and built this communist bloc-style 'church' (how these divergent ideologies would pair up exactly, I don't know) just to sap the will to live out of the capitalist Cliftonites. It really does stick out terribly in amongst all the very large, fine-living town houses and other buildings in this area, and its disgusting cubist 'spire' is viewable from all around the Pembrooke Road area. Frankly, as atheist as I am, I think this building is a like a gob of spit in the face of the gods. It's one benefit is the size of the space inside and the amount of long strips for grinding a skateboard down - therefore, I'm going to recommend that they turn this building into a youth centre and graff it up proper.
Erm, yes. Well, what can I say. You know the beautiful and magnificent cathedrals in Salisbury, Canterbury and York? This one is nothing like that. Some say it is beautiful in its own right, in a modern art kind of way. I say it's some dodgy 60s throwback which reminds me of my old uni (I went to the University of York which appears to have been built to the same design brief as this cathedral, such a shame). Nevertheless, it is a bit of a grower. While to begin with, I wondered how the hell something so out of keeping with the gorgeous Georgian architecture of Clifton ever got planning permission, now I've got a little soft spot for it - in the same way I have a soft spot for Tracy Emin's art work. I don't pretend to understand it but it sure is interesting. Early modern architecture at its most mesmerising?
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