A court in Venice has refused to fast-track a legal claim filed by the Icelandic Art Center (IAC) seeking the reopening of artist Christoph Büchel’s mosque, which launched earlier this year in a disused church in Venice as part of the Biennale.
The IAC is the commissioner of the controversial project, which was housed in the former Catholic church [...]. The mosque closed at the end of May after only two weeks when city officials claimed that it breached health and safety regulations. — theartnewspaper.com
Construction has begun on the future Centre Européen du Judaïsme (European Centre of Judaism) in the 17th arrondissement of Paris [...].
The planned cost of the project is €10m, with €2.7m in state and regional public funding, and it is due to be completed in spring 2017. Covering 4,900 sq. m over eight floors, the Jewish centre will include a synagogue, library, theatre and classrooms. The new building has been designed by the local architects Bruno Fléchet and Stéphane Maupin [...]. — The Art Newspaper
There were never any construction plans or official permission. Everything is in my head. I am not an architect or a stonemason. I have never had any training in the building profession. My basic education was interrupted by the Civil War. I was inspired by books about cathedrals, castles and other religious buildings and they gave birth to my own work...—Don Justo Gallego Martínez — thisbigcity.net
Born into humble means in the Spanish town of Mejorada del Campo in 1925 and having worked as a farmer and a bullfighter, Don Justo Gallego Martínez lived in a Trappist monastery for eight years until he was forced to leave when he contracted tuberculosis. Don Justo, who never had any training...
Builders pulled back from Mauna Kea as hundreds of protesters set up roadblocks to oppose construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on top of Hawaii’s sacred mountain. State and local police arrested a dozen demonstrators. — RT
"Protesters say they are taking a stand to defend Mauna Kea, sacred to native Hawaiians, from the international conglomerate attempting to build the mega-telescope, also known as the TMT. They say the 18-story building represents an unacceptable desecration of the mountain."The Thirty Meter...
The police in Venice closed an art installation in the form of a functioning mosque on Friday morning, after city officials declared the art project a security hazard and said that the artist who created it, Christoph Büchel, had not obtained proper permits and had violated laws by allowing too many people inside the mosque to worship. — NYT
"There is no mosque in Venice, so the thousands of Muslim tourists visiting Venice must pray in a converted factory in Mestre, which is the polluted part of Venice.This until the swiss artist Buechler converted an abandoned and unused former catholic church into a functioning mosque for the...
The new science of neuroaesthetics [...] tells us much about the way pure form is dealt with by the brain. [...] V S Ramachandran, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego, and William Hirstein, a philosopher at Elmhurst College in Illinois, argue that we are innately attuned to recognise things as unified objects – such that we find brushstrokes or architectural features that can be mentally assembled into a coherent whole more beautiful. — aeon.co
Leading British archaeologist and member of the House of Lords, Colin Renfrew, says the destruction of historic mosques in Mosul, northern Iraq, by Islamic state militants (Isis) “is a disaster for the cultural heritage of Iraq, and indeed of Islam”. The Prophet Jirjis mosque and shrine in Mosul was destroyed on 27 July, according to unconfirmed press reports. The 14th-century mosque was the latest in a series of holy sites targeted by the jihadist group. — theartnewspaper.com
The mosque was built on an archaeological site dating back to 8th century BC and is said to be the burial place of the prophet, who in stories from both the Bible and Qur’an is swallowed by a whale.
It was renovated in the 1990s under Iraq’s late dictator Saddam Hussein and until the recent militant blitz that engulfed Mosul, remained a popular destination for religious pilgrims from around the world. — arabnews.com
On the Portal of Paradise on the western façade of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan are sculptures of the end of modern New York. The Brooklyn Bridge is breaking in two, a bus plummeting from it into the water while waves rise up over the toppling skyline. People run in a panic below the Stock Exchange, and next to them a scorpion, snake, and other signs of pestilence swarm a skeleton. — hyperallergic.com
Romania's Minister of Religious Affairs, Victor Opaschi, concedes that there is a close working relationship between the church and politicians during electoral campaigns, and that this is "not a good thing". — BBC News
Tessa Dunlop reports in from Romania where the Orthodox Church is in the midst of a growth spurt with as many as 10 new places of worship being completed every month, and the enormous Cathedral for the People's Salvation is slowly taking shape. However, Romanians have begun to question...
The Vatican’s presence at the Biennale is the brainchild of Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, an exuberant polymath who as president of the Pontifical Council for Culture since 2009 has tried to build bridges between the church and contemporary culture, two worlds that have often clashed. — nytimes.com
The ancient Afghan city of Ghazni has been designated an Asian city of Islamic Culture by the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation. But outsiders will find it difficult to see the city's famous Islamic and pre-Islamic architectural wonders because of the Taliban insurgency. — BBC News
Muslim scriptures are laconic on mosque design. The holy building must only face Mecca and be “guarded from enemies”. That gives a free hand to experimental architects and adventurous clergy. In Albania’s capital, Tirana, BIG, a Danish architectural firm, is erecting a mosque with walls like breaking waves. Their clever geometry helps it face Mecca—inconveniently askew from the city’s north-south grid layout. — economist.com
"You can have a grand dome and grand minaret, but if it doesn't really serve the purpose, if it only has a large prayer space and nothing else, then you're not really fulfilling the needs of the community," he says. — BBC News
In post 9/11 America the construction of new mosques in the US has sometimes sparked controversy and even confrontation. Is that why some new Muslim houses of worship are being built without the most recognisable features of Islamic architecture - minarets and domes?
Perhaps emboldened by the success of the atheist bus, or his own Living Architecture initiative (in which top architects design desirable holiday homes), or the fact that he's got a new book to promote, Alain de Botton is now proposing a series of temples for atheists to be built around the UK. — guardian.co.uk
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