St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church

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The complex for St. Mary’s Church stems from the main altar. The altar is the centre of the composition and the most important element in the church: it symbolizes Christ and is the central element in the sacrifice of the mass. The roof is a complex catenary post-tensioned reinforced concrete shell, constructed with cables and mesh used as the integral form as well as the reinforcing. It is amorphous in composition, serving as a canopy over the people and a baldachino over the main altar. The roof sweeps down over the high wall behind the sanctuary, down low over the main altar, further increasing its dominance. A skylight bathes the altar with light and conveys to the beholder that this is the source of life and divine light.

Brick has been used inventively to serve as the form work for the exterior walls. Two withes of brick that taper towards the top were first laid in five foot layers, and then reinforcement and concrete were placed between them. The builders were specifically instructed to tap the bricks slightly askew to impart a rough-hewn monastic look to the building. The sculptural forms of the Church were a challenge to the skill and mastery of the masons, as every brick was carved to shape at the intricate junctions between parapets and walls. The building demonstrates the fluidity with which brick can be used as a sculpting tool.