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Choreographing the Liturgy : Exploring continuity, change and the liturgy in the ecclesiastical buildings of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia

Robertson, James ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1315-7950 (2020) Choreographing the Liturgy : Exploring continuity, change and the liturgy in the ecclesiastical buildings of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia. The Innes Review, 71 (2). pp. 237-269. ISSN 0020-157X

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Abstract

Architectural responses to the liturgical changes of the twentieth century, and in particular the responses of the renowned architectural practice of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia (1927–87), have been widely discussed; the latter especially in respect of their dramatic and sometimes enigmatic contributions to post-war ecclesiastical design in Britain. But this concern is predicated on the chronological separation of a body of work, and existing study on this practice tends to reinforce the notion of change within the life of the firm; changes in their design approach from ‘traditional’ to ‘modern’, often linked to changes in staffing; and architectural responses to changes in the liturgy. However, in the midst of this changing landscape of church design, modernism and liturgy, is the less studied concept of continuity between Gillespie, Kidd & Coia’s inter and post-war work, and its engagement with a liturgy undergoing modification. Indeed, the ecclesiastical schemes of the inter and early post-war periods have been less often referred to in terms of their ability to command a paradigm shift in the firm’s work. However, viewed in their entirety, the practice’s scheme designs demonstrate a fascinating pluralistic attitude to design concept and vocabulary; the transmutability of their ideas their currency in spatial, sectional and experiential matters. This article therefore includes continuity as well as change in analysis of churches from across the firm’s lifespan, viewing their rich and varied compositions as a complete body of internationally significant work.

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