Architectural Styles

After World War II in Europe (1945), if Medieval Churches were only slightly damaged, reconstructions followed the Gothic styles. However practically all European Churches that had to be completely rebuilt followed the Modern approach to architectural design. In the middle of the 1950’s, a new larger Church was planned for the Parish of St. George, Winnipeg, and each of these two approaches to Architectural Design had many adherents.

The Traditionalists felt that GOTHIC PRECEDENT should be used for all churches. The Gothic styles had been developed in the Medieval period in Europe and the great cathedrals and small parish churches from that period, all reflected the religious enthusiasm of those centuries (11th –16th c). This Canadian group, who were predominantly British in background, felt nostalgia for the British homeland and the familiar styles of earlier churches.

The Modernists considered that the influence of MODERN aspirations in religion and planning, a study of site and the use of modern construction methods and materials, would best produce a beautiful structure for use in the second half of the 20th century and beyond, in Canada.

The Rector–Roy Gartrell, the Architect–Leslie Russell and the Church Design Committee were anxious to use the approach of the Modernists, while a portion of the congregation, longing for the safety of the known ways of the past was very much in favour of a Gothic influenced building. As we consider this Church, we will see the influence of each of these two approaches: GOTHIC PRECEDENT and MODERN and the adjustments and solutions that resulted.