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Utrecht (U): St. Aloysius (H.W. Valk, 1921-1924)

The St. Aloysius church counts as the first that was designed by H.W. Valk and was actually built. Although this architect had designed several churches starting from 1915, none had been built. In 1921 Valk was commissioned by the Jesuits to design a church for their St. Aloysius parish in Utrecht. The parish had been founded in 1907 in what at that time was still a mostly agricultural part of Utrecht. A small church was built, but as the parish quickly urbanised in the 1920's it soon became too small. Valk's church was to be big enough for 1000 people.

Valk based his design on measurements in the book Tempelmasse ('Tempel measuremnents') by the Benedictine priest Odilo Wolff. Work began in early 1923, and the church was consecrated in April the next year. The church was built using reinforced concrete, which was then covered with a layer of bricks. The style in which the church was built is Expressionism in general, but with elements from neo-Byzantine/neo-Romanesque styles.

It has a peculiar hexagonal ground-plan for the main space as well as a rather conventional choir at its back. On top of the church is  24 meters tall octagonal dome which is supported by six pillars. An early design shows a tall tower next to the front of church, but instead a small tower was built, possibly because the church was expensive enough as it was.

Valk built one more dome-church a couple of years later, the much more complex St. Jan de Doper in Waalwijk, before switching to more conventional types of churches.






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