The Star Tribune reviews Victoria M. Young's 'Saint John’s Abbey Church: Marcel Breuer and the Creation of a Modern Sacred Space'
Rising from a flat wooded plain in central Minnesota, the sharply angled St. John’s Abbey bell banner commands awe. A towering portal from the outside world to the sacred interior of the abbey church, the imposing 112-foot-high poured-concrete slab beckons visitors to come in and behold the further wonders of contemporary design envisioned by Hungarian-born architect Marcel Breuer in the 1950s.
It’s one of the most breathtaking examples of modernism in Minnesota, and set the standard for a new era in religious architecture.
Renowned architect I.M. Pei once said that had the boldly shaped structures, composed primarily of thousands of tons of concrete, been built in a more populated area on either the East or West Coast, the abbey would be a world-famous example of mid-20th-century architecture.