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January 3, 2010

Strange Buildings of the World. Surprisingly, No Modern Catholic Cathedrals Made the List

Most of these edifices are pretty weird. Some are aggressively, stupidly weird. A couple (# 6, for example) are actually rather appealing. And some are reminiscent of certain modern cathedrals that have been inflicted on us built in recent years.

What do you think?


  1. Very strange stuff. I love the Chapel in the Rock in Sedona. It isn't very prayerful because 1. it is full of tourists and 2. it is artistically void on the inside. But driving around the bend to Sedona and seeing it jet out of the mountain is breathtaking. If you go on a slow day with less tourists it is a nice place to pray while looking out at the natural beauty.

    BTW... the Cathedral in L.A. What happened? That is horrible.

  2. I really like the Kansas City Library! The rest of them make my brain hurt.

    I have to say, though, that the LA Cathedral is just so - Los Angeles - that it really doesn't bother me. I prefer other forms (York Minster, for example) but LA is in fact a modern, fast-paced, American West city built on glitz, and the cathedral fits. Best of all, of course, is that the Mass is still the Mass, regardless of the building (or lack thereof).

  3. It is know fact in psychology that people instinctively seek recognition. This takes many diverse forms from simple response to Hello How Are You… to more elaborate forms such as in art or in this case architecture. I think if it doesn’t move you toward divine awe, it ultimately meaningless.
    Reminds me of two poems;

    I AM riding on a limited express, one of the crack trains
    of the nation.
    Hurtling across the prairie into blue haze and dark air
    go fifteen all-steel coaches holding a thousand people.
    (All the coaches shall be scrap and rust and all the men
    and women laughing in the diners and sleepers shall
    pass to ashes.)
    I ask a man in the smoker where he is going and he
    answers: “Omaha.”
    – Carl Sandburg

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away
    -Percy Bysshe Shelley

    .And so, if society chooses to divorce it self from divine plan, members live full of sound and fury signifying nothing; going to this empty destinations and endeavors.

  4. The modern Cathedral in Brasilia made one such list (click on the link "See more such buildings here" at the bottom of the page Patrick linked to). But even an older cathedral like Sagrada Familia in Barcelona could have easily made these lists too.

  5. Did the architect study at Pisa?