The research is focused on informing contemporary building practice from a sense of the holy. Sacred building practices take into account the whole form as it arises from the individual materials. Specific historic examples of medieval vault construction illustrate the relationship between matter (origin, source, mother) and wholeness. Medieval vault construction arose from a medieval theology and cosmology; how the medieval mind understood the cosmos played a role in the development of rib vault construction. The medieval mind maximized the importance of the holy which places Gothic architecture as the most recent and pure example of sacred western architecture.
Contemporary materials, although commonly seen through a de-sacralised viewpoint, can play a role in a ‘contemporary sacred building practice’. Such a manner of building holds important implications for contemporary society as our relationship to matter is inverted from the medieval cosmology. Whereas matter existed as a potential order inherent within it, material of today’s construction is seen as neutral and devoid of any order except what is placed upon it by humans. The ultimate form of contemporary construction holds little relationship to matter, and consequently preclude any sense of wholeness.
This re-interpretation of Gothic vault construction and the use of materials from within a medieval theology and cosmology is extended to include a re-interpretation of contemporary materials. The research focuses on the matter as it relates to wholeness with the resultant articulation of form.