Wednesday, 23 May 2012

One Brilliant Thing in Stevenage

If there is just one brilliant thing in Stevenage it's the Parish church (c1960), right next to the Holiday Inn. We were drawn to God as Drogba headed in that corner, and continue to be drawn to God as Scott appears to be building the Ark downstairs, and taking just as long as Noah. Unfortunately they built this wonderful concrete framed church a couple of feet from the by-pass and down in a hole, but the sweeping geometry of the vaulting (the section is a double ellipse to accommodate the side aisles) and serene quality of the finishes make you very nostalgic, and the the side walls are prefabricated flint, if there can be such a thing. There is even a campanile, a simple spiral stair running up the inside of a concrete frame to a bell, simple as that.
Stevenage itself smacks of the worst kind of corruption, the corruption of good intensions by bureaucratic bungling and self important officialdom. Curiously and sadly, it was the church who managed something truly decent.

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