The bishops recommend a fmailiarity with good work done elsewhere. Sound advice:
§ 193 § Before people make architectural and liturgical decisions, they need some experience of the broad spectrum of architectural designs already in new and renovated churches. People’s preferences are often determined by things with which they are familiar. Visits to a variety of churches can help them to develop a store of images that they can evaluate and consider as potential options for the building project in their own parish.
§ 194 § Although the visits should not be confined to the work of architects or liturgical consultants under consideration for their project, people will want to visit churches that demonstrate the candidates’ work. Gaining knowledge of a professional’s previous work, whether religious or secular, is indispensable to the process of selecting the architect.
§ 195 § When actual site visits are not possible, slides, videos, and other visual aids can expand the experience of those preparing for the building or renovation of a church. Liturgical and construction offices within the diocese also can be invaluable resources in advising parish building committees of recent or exemplary projects in the local area.
One important piece is to check the references of architects, contractors, and artists among church projects they have done. It is useful to get a good sense on how other churches have worked with professionals. In my current parish, we are looking to upgrade the sound system from the fire-damaged former set-up. In speaking with consultants, we were less impressed with eight-figure projects for convention centers, arenas, or even megachurches. We wanted people with church experience, preferably Catholic. We also asked churches for their assessment in working with professionals. A professional may do excellent work, but their interpersonal skills with a committee’s, a parish’s, and a pastor’s expectations need to also be a good match.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.