🐇🌀 003 — Cathedrals & Ballparks

st. vitus cathedral.png

A [building] — is as much about what it could be, and that energy of becoming, as what it is.

I highlighted/re-read most of this fantastic article about the project management of Building a Cathedral — “megaprojects” which sometimes last over hundreds of years, and are rarely completed.

The friction of the “spatial triad” especially resonated — “three different kinds of space: conceived, perceived, and lived. Conceived space is space as a means of political control, as the architects and planners would have it. Perceived space is what actually is. Lived space is what space could be, when re-appropriated by those who use it. Lived space is, as architecture critic Kate Wagner puts it, the space of “projections, dreams, utopias, experience.”

Though it has three parts, the spatial triad is really more of a simple tug of war between conceived and lived, with the building in between. That is to say, a building is never simply a building – it is a constant battlefield between what it should be and what it could be, played out across what it is.

The aspect of building something with a mindset towards multi-generational development was really incredible to think about — even down to planning the build in a way that informed what unfinished portions or additions might look like based on what's currently built.

The shared community focus and passion that drives the development of these Cathedrals — from donors abusing their political powers to dedicated craftsman who won’t see the finished work — was a fascinating exploration in this article as well.

“So, why do cathedrals take so long to build? Because the finish line is besides the point. Cathedrals are so compelling because they make visible the continued commitment that every building, city, and institution requires of their participants if they are to survive. Cathedral building ritualizes construction; they are compelling because they are never finished.

In 2001, almost a decade after the stone yard closed, the New York Times interviewed a number of former St. John the Divine stone masons. One, Albert Rivera, said he still thought of the cathedral every day – ”It's something that caught my heart.'' Ten years after leaving the stone yard, he still had his mallet. “The cathedral needs to be built,'' said another. ''I've dedicated my life to it.''


Mark Mulroney took me down memory lane with Stadium Club — a fun read that follows his path from chasing pro baseball autographs to forging them.

My childhood home was a few blocks from a Single A ballpark which hosted several franchises (Expos, Royals, Cubs). I remember chasing autographs and watching an 18-year old Johnny Damon play. I have vivid memories of my first trip to Wrigley Field when I was four — definitely a cathedral in its’ own way.

Jared Fanning