The small prairie city of Red Deer is not a place one would expect to find great architecture, but St. Mary’s Catholic Church is a notable and interesting exception.
The design of this church was the first project of Canadian architect, Douglas Cardinal. Born and raised in Red Deer, Mr. Cardinal is Metis. Today Cardinal is best known for designing the memorable Museum of Civilization in Ottawa and the Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC.
Planning for the church’s construction began in 1964 and it was completed in 1968. The entire structure is curved — the walls, roofline, even the roof. There are no windows — light enters via skylights. The church has a seating capacity of 650.
I wished I’d timed my arrival to the church a little better. Saturday evening mass had just begun when I arrived and out of respect I did not enter the sanctuary. It’s supposed to be equally impressive and is definitely on my short list for my next visit to Red Deer. The interior is said to be mostly made of exposed brick, with the floor sloping toward the altar and pulpit — I’m sure a compliment to the exterior.
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