I have been trying for a while to combine architecture (i’ve been officially associated with the profession in some way for a decade), and Catholicism (baptised as an infant into the church, and never looked back since) in some intellectually coherent and compelling way. How can/does the Catholicism of my youth impact the creation of architecture, and how can/does architecture impact Catholicism? This will sound hollow, but give it a second, I have found that the intersection of the two and the gravitational center of this blog lies squarely on the contradiction of the incarnation. In what was an unplanned pregnancy, God became a fetus, was born, experienced hunger, joy, anger, sadness, and emotional and physical pain. So what does this mean for us, and for my literary attempt? –

It means the stuff we make (bricks) and we (bones) matter.

It means our bodies, what we make, design, eat, and wear matters. – It means that matter matters .It means that the dirt we scratch off our our knees after crawling up the scala sancta, the “holy stairs” that led up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilot where Jesus stood during his trial 2000+ years ago, it means that matters. In a way, this is my attempt at quelling contemporary gnosticism (we should shun the physical world, which doesn’t matter, only the intellectual/spiritual matters) by proposing the sacramental imagination as the remedy (a remedy that has actually already been laced throughout history and culture from the beginning). How does this play out? Still working on that. 

I’m not proposing anything new. I would estimate that 95% of this is unoriginal, and that’s a virtue I wouldn’t quickly reject. I’m just diggin up people, places, ideas, and stories that I find to be compelling.

This is me leaving a trace in bits and pixels and trying to do so in an authentic way. This is where a twenty something texan husband/father/designer writes about architecture, Catholicism, and the sacramental imagination. 

Beyond Building Knowledge Manifesto of Relevance:

  1. There is nothing more attractive than holiness.
  2. True authenticity is a close second. (the most authentic thing is holiness)
  3. Incredible use of media (writing, design, architecture, film, etc) is a close third.


Who is this for? It’s for myself to sharpen my thinking on architecture, and the Catholicism of my childhood. This is me, my wife, and my son shortly after he was born. (He isn’t nearly as thuggish as this photo would suggest. Promise. ) It’s for my son, who may want to ask dad questions long after I’m gone. It is for my friends and family. It’s a way for me to  And it’s for you. If any of this interests you, drop a line in the com-box.

You can connect with me on instagram, twitter, or email c.duffel@gmail.com

I hope you enjoy what you read as much as I enjoy throwing a frisbee, although I am not entirely sure that is even possible. (but I still hope it)


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