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Imre Makovecz said about the church

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Imre Makovecz said about the church

I had my first communion in the Upper Christina Town Church in 1942. We were wearing white Hungarian suits, white feathers on hats, white gloves, girls in white tulle wedding dresses, in white veil wreath. The new church had already been built, if I remember correctly, and then the war and the siege reached us. Dead bodies, ruins, Russians, starvation everywhere. After the war, in the years of recovery, the parish organised us to help the displaced and widows, to visit children aged ten or eleven, to deliver food and clothing. The Reverend Hermann, with a gilded sword, knighted some of us, Kamil Rohony, myself and others, on the altar steps, and to this day I do not know which order of knighthood I have been a member of ever since. At the back of the church, in the great hall, we were at a post-war film screening, a scout meeting. I saw the film The Count Monte Cristo there. The film seemed like it was raining in it all the time because of the poor quality of the copy. I met my parents in this church, after my mother had given a reversal, and at last my Catholic father from Zala and my Calvinist mother from the Great Plain could marry in an official church ceremony. Yes, this work is different from the others I have done since 1959.

At this place of my childhood that is so restless, tragic and yet full of light, at this unfinished and then desecrated location, we must complete a church-building endeavour that was begun long ago. I have witnessed sixty years of the Upper Christina Town Church project, the struggles, the humiliations and the underlying dignity.

I don’t know how much longer I will work. Possibly, this church is the last. I made no compromises. But I honoured what I was given – the ground plan and the characteristics of the walls and pillars. Since the ground plan was symmetrical, this was not against my liking. The inverse of two-thirds of the church would be repeated underground, just as all living cells have a coinciding, symmetrical but not identical “alter ego”, and just as a tree has a crown on top as well as below. In the same way, before going to His Father, before he was resurrected in a new body, the Son of God descended to hell. The drama of resurrection and deliverance, of the creation of the new heaven and the new earth can originate only in the love, union and rebirth of this world and what is not of this world.

After many drawings of “Atlantis” and even more attempts, this church design is the summation of many years of work. The consecrated world of plants, especially trees, has always inspired me to let their “word” be heard inside the walls of my buildings. The vitality of its dynamics, its flexibility, tied to a place yet resistant to storms, the protecting embrace of its shade, the fragrant scent of its blossoms offering themselves up to the skies, its “song” is the fairy-adviser of my architecture. Yes, I say fairy for I have missed them who have left this earthly space, and would like to bring them closer to us.

The towers with the chiming eyes encircled by the poplars swaying in the wind summon all living things to make an offering. This was the aim of the church in Siófok, as well as the towers of the churches in Temesvár and Sepsiszentgyörgy [the towns of Timişoara and Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania].

The concave spine and ribs of the nave conjure up the interior of the chest, the lungs and the heart, the place of breathing, of the soul, the place from which the soul begins its journey before the offering is made.

I know that this description is unacceptable, poetic, turgid and empty for the “purist”, the “new modern” approach. I acknowledge that. Yet I believe that without the redemption and love of nature, including the nature of man, there is no way to the Creator. This step, the spiritualization of nature, must be taken by architects, and it is not enough to think that the empty white square on the other side of nothingness is filled with spirituality.

The birth of all creative work involves a sequence. First appears a vision, and along with it a “mood” that involves all the details. Only then comes the rough sketch for the structure, regardless of whether we are dealing with music or architecture. The elaboration of the vision and the mood become one with matter. The departing or destruction of a work of creation keeps to the sequence of its creation, except in reverse order. When its material is annihilated, the vision and the mood remain. Where are they located, and can they be accessed? This is a question involving one’s world view. Is it true, that the absolute beginning of all creation is the Word? If it is not clear, but mixed up and confused, there is no point in pursuing the idea, no point in forcing understanding. A decision must be made. A final one. Why? Because if it is true that the word, the idea and its image is the first, then it is God who created the world.”

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