The following day, I went to visit some of the sacred architecture in Dundee’s city centre. It is incredible how many churches Dundee has presently, they run like a trail right through the city…

St Mary’s Church/The Steeple are said to be the oldest of these buildings in Dundee, dating back to 1190 when it was first constructed. It now stands as a completely different building, as the original structure was burnt by the English in 1303. It was then rebuilt, but again in 1547 the parish was targeted for being the largest church in Scotland, and the Steeple being the tallest Tower. Again it was rebuilt and again it was burnt in 1841.

Finally, in the 1870’s it was re-built by Sir George Gilbert Scott, who was commissioned by the local council to re model the church. The building takes the aesthetics of the Gothic Victorian Revival, which is physically very different from the Old Steeple that managed to survive from the 1400’s. This building is now what presently remains as St. Mary’s church, and is the only surviving structure from all its past decedents.

I find church’s very bizzarre spaces; they are public sanctuaries, yet there is so much political control over them, and especially as historic sites, they begin to close their doors and loose their purpose and identity. It is amazing how much importance we have given these buildings over the years, re building them over and over again….They are so present within every culture and city, and they remain sacred, even if religion has faded, the buildings themselves represent the people that built them, and as a beacons of hope, they remain as visual metaphors of our faith.

This is in itself creates a very resonant framework, standing infront of a building, that echoes all the structures that stood there before it, but also all the energy it has taken to re build them.  I am sure that their presence and human resonance still echoes through space now. I really like this church, it does for me symbolize the centre of Dundee. It is a very social hub space, there is always people sitting aroudn ti, and there has been a wonderful public art piece commissioned, which echos the ouline of the front of building on the ground.

I tried to enter the church, but it was closed, so I circled the space and found a little enclosure in one of the side walls, facing the Overgate. I stood there, taking in my surroundings and watching everyone move around the building. theere was a pigeon wandering around and a bin man working close by, so I definitely got the sense that this was a shard space. I sang very quietly and stood close to a tree. I felt very sheltered by the building and  protected. It then began to rain, so I decided to walk on into the city and follow it down to the Seagate…

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