Monday, May 16, 2022


 I have been letting my exploration of churches and temples “follow the evidence” wherever it may lead.  When I research the background of one particular building, I never know what is going to pop up and grab my attention.  “Gee whiz, I sure would like to know a bit more about that!”

Topics ripple out in concentric circles, creating moiré patters as they intersect. So from Stonehenge I took a giant leap to an Expressionist icon of the early modern era, discovered two other churches by Jensen-Klint, bumped up against the “white churches” of medieval Denmark.  What next?  Maybe Sweden, Finland, Norway? 


It’s been fascinating to be drawn into a deeper knowledge of Denmark, helpful of course to have visited a few years ago and to weave new insights into the weft of those memories.  I had close friends from Sweden 35 years ago, (almost half a lifetime) when I was teaching at the University of Zimbabwe.  Sadly I have lost touch with them, as I have lost touch with so many others in my wanderings across planet earth. 


I have been using a technique where you find a church on Wikipedia (mobile version) scroll down to the bottom and see thumbnails of three other similar churches.  Click away, taking screenshots along the way and you soon have a collection of 20 or so churches.  It worked well for Denmark and I have started doing it for Sweden. 



Why not finish Denmark first? Well, like I said, I’m following my heart (is that what I said?) Go with the flow. Plus, none of these explorations will ever be finished.  I used to dream of founding a movement that would expand across the globe, a community building BIM models, for fun and for mutual learning, studying the history of built form, technologies, styles, “the way we build.”  There have been some great collaborations, but it hasn’t exactly gone viral, so I’m just plugging away, dabbling here and there, sharing whenever I can.



This Swedish detour was partly prompted by a comment on LinkedIn from a Blacksmith in the states.  This took me to the town of Torshalla which has a church that shares quite a lot, stylistically with the churches I have been studying in Denmark. It happens also to be a steel town with connections to the city of Sheffield which was a formative part of my young adulthood.  I used to have a ted brick terraced house, that sat on a hillside overlooking the Don Valley and it’s enormous steel mills, now mostly long demolished.



I’m rambling on.  The images interspersed with the text above document my attempts to add a couple of churches on the island of Gotland to my study series.  I could have chosen mainland churches that look much more like the Danish collection, but I was drawn to the spires on these, and the challenged they posed.


So I spent an afternoon setting up a parametric version of that geometry.  I used two swept blends.  They could have been just blends because the path is vertical, but I wanted to use loaded profiles.  Step one was a parametric octagon.  Uses a simple formula with “root 2” in it, there could be other approaches.  This is the top profile of the lower swept blend, which has a square base (a sketch)


The upper solid uses two types (sizes) of the octagon for top and bottom profiles.  Now we get to formulas that control the slope angle of both solids.  That’s a way of coordinating them.  Now we only need to link the top octagon of the lower solid to the base octagon of the second, resulting in a parametric base with three inputs.  The width of the base square, the angle of pitch, and a ratio to control how far up the transition happens.

It's nice addition to my collection of primitives with which I can build massing models of churches and temples.

Yeah, I know, the visuals are out of synch.  Need to post this and move on.  Haven’t even got around to talking about the sketch-over stuff: taking a screenshot from Enscape and freehanding detail on my new(ish) Surface.  In the end it’s just another way of “thinking aloud”


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