Saint John Paul II Church
Robert Gutowski Architects won an invited competition for the design of the Saint John Paul II Church in Páty, Hungary. The entire design and construction process was organized by the local community. Financing of the building mostly came from voluntary contributions. The church was dedicated in 2019.
The Saint John Paul II Church consciously reacts to changes in contemporary liturgy and thus is a kind of church model experiment in religious architecture. Emphasis is shifting to the active participation of the community; people are not passive participants of an event taking place in a remote sanctuary, but directly experiences the liturgy. This is where central spatial planning originates from: the less-pronounced nave appears as a church garden, whereas the liturgical space is reminiscent of an apse sanctuary of the Baroque church type. The traditions of historical religious architecture have gained a new role: the angle break between the axes of the garden and the church room, i.e. the nave and the sanctuary is a known symbol since the Middle Ages, the metaphor of the broken body.
The most prominent feature of the space is the altar’s green stone block. The proximity of the altar, the natural light pointing to the center and the feeling of cosiness facilitate attunement and contemplation.
Our aim was to design a multifunctional building, which is open to the public and provides a place for civil initiatives as well, concerts and cultural events. The liturgical space is surrounded by community and educational spaces, an event room, schoolrooms, guest rooms, presbytery, administrative offices, which, along with the garden, are organized in a uniform layout. In the heterogeneous, small-town environment, the church with elliptic layout symbolizes stability.