Over the weekend was the first and definitely not the last Open Christchurch festival. Put on by the people who brought us FESTA, the festival was designed to let people visit some of the architectural gems that they might not otherwise get to see. I had a busy weekend, so was only able to fit two buildings in, but both of them were absolute crackers. I’ll put them in separate posts, so later in the week we’ll go inside College House, but first up, the Ski Jump.
Our Lady of Victories is a Catholic Church from the late 1960s. Designed by Charles Thomas, it is has a striking exterior.
If anything, the interior is more impressive. It opens up to a diamond-shape, with the long walls lined with stained glass.
We were there about when it opened, around 10am, and the low autumn light was illuminating the windows from the east. It was stunning - and one of the regulars said that it was even better an hour or so earlier. Around the altar, the windows are deep red, probably something to do with the blood of christ, I’m not going to pretend I know, but it bathes the whole area in a supernatural red glow.
Looking up is possibly even more impressive, with the ceiling curving like the bows of two great galleons, with a skylight that lets light into the gap between.
It even has a cast concrete altar!
Complete with microphone jack!
Apart from the whole God thing, this place was 100% my bag. If you ever get the chance, I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a look. Also, if there are any location scouts on the hunt for retro-futuristic spaces to stage some sort of epic dynastic clash, keep this in your rolodex.