Project's Summary

The St. Mary's Visitation Parish Church, originally constructed as a Capuchin monastic church in 1640, underwent a transformative renovation project led by Messner Architects in recent years. In the 1970s, an annex was added to the eastern side of the building, and two steel uprights were installed as a structural support between the old and new sections. However, the latest modifications have completely reimagined the connection between the historic structure and the annex, creating a seamless flow between the two spaces.

The renovation project introduced an elaborate ascent that starts in the old nave and gracefully extends into the new section of the church. This ascent not only physically links the two large rooms but also establishes a new focal point within the building – the sanctuary. Within the sanctuary, captivating liturgical objects made of dark rock are embedded, creating a visually striking presence. Additionally, the ascent in the annex area forms a unique space adorned with saintly figures. As it continues towards the rear of the sanctuary, it transforms into a staircase for the choir.

One notable change in the renovation was the removal of the steel beams that previously separated the old and new sections. This alteration has unburdened the view of the joint sanctuary, allowing both rooms to seamlessly merge into a cohesive whole. To further enhance the overall aesthetic, the entire church floor has been covered in pale limestone, providing a clean and unified appearance. The dark expansion joints within the floor create a web-like pattern that extends throughout the church, harmonizing with the alignment of the stairway ensemble.

The artistic vision behind the renovation was masterfully executed by artist Franz Messner, who designed the sacral elements within the sanctuary. Using locally sourced dark basalt, Messner crafted liturgical objects that spiral upwards, unfurling like blossoms in response to the two major axes of the space. This redesign of the sanctuary reflects a thoughtful reconsideration of the entire setting, resulting in a sense of clarity and coherence that evokes an atmosphere of holism. Throughout the renovation process, the historical building was meticulously refurbished, alleviating it from accumulated encumbrances and restoring its true beauty.

In conclusion, the St. Mary's Visitation Parish Church renovation project led by Messner Architects has successfully reimagined the connection between the original structure and the 1970s annex. The incorporation of an elaborate ascent, the removal of steel beams, and the careful selection of materials have transformed the church into a unified and harmonious space. The artistic touch of Franz Messner, exemplified in the liturgical objects within the sanctuary, adds a transcendent quality to the renovated church, creating a truly awe-inspiring place of worship.

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