Raincy, Notre-Dame du

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Notre-Dame du Raincy is a Catholic church in the Diocese of Versailles, France, important in the evolution of modern church architecture; designed by Auguste perret and built in 1923. This small (63 by 185 feet) church almost single-handedly broke the reactionary grip that eclecticism had held (and to a certain degree still holds) on church building. It is pivotal in 20th-century religious architecture because of its method of construction. For a period of some 150 years prior to Raincy, most of the world's churches were built in revival styles, e.g., neoclassic, neo-Gothic, neo-Romanesque, etc. The church at Raincy, however, engaged contemporary architectural abilities with an intelligence that provided guidelines for the future. Perret, who designed Notre-Dame du Raincy, was one of the great pioneers of reinforced concrete, and he determined to use this "industrial" material throughout the church. Slender columns of reinforced concrete (béton armé ) uphold a slightly vaulted concrete nave, while the four walls are composed of precast panels of geometrically pierced concrete whose many interstices are filled with brightly colored glass designed by Maurice denis. The simple "one room" of the church is thus surrounded by panels of colored glass and is suffused with light. The revolution initiated with the nave construction has been of inestimable importance in the development of subsequent religious architecture.

See Also: church architecture, history of.

Bibliography: p. collins, "The Doctrine of Auguste Perret," The Architectural Review 114 (1953) 9198. a. henze and t. filthaut, Contemporary Church Art, ed. m. lavanoux, tr. c. hastings (New York 1956) 2027. j. pichard, Modern Church Architecture, tr. e. callmann (New York 1962) 3438. a. christjaner and m. m. foley, Modern Church Architecture (New York 1962) 613.

[g. e. kidder smith]