Church of Incarnation recognized by group for its unique architecture

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By Sally Krutzig

News Editor

The church is designed to place extra emphasis on the Mass itself.  - Photo courtesy of The Liturgical Design Consultancy
The church is designed to place extra emphasis on the Mass itself.
– Photo courtesy of The Liturgical Design Consultancy

The Church of the Incarnation has been recognized as a significant piece of architecture.

The Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects will award the University of Dallas campus church with the 25 Year Non-Residential Award. According to a UD press release, this award goes to buildings that are both post-war and older than 25 years. The CELEBRATE ARCHITECTURE ceremony and reception, which are open to the public, will take place on Thursday, April 2 at 6 p.m. in the Klyde Warren Park. Various other buildings will be honored as well.

Dallas-area architect Jane Landry designed the Church of the Incarnation. Lyle Novinski, an emeritus professor of art at UD “served as liturgical consultant and designed the baptismal font and altar,” according to the University of

Dallas press release.

“I was excited about it,” Novinski said. “It was a great surprise.”

Landry and her husband, Duane Landry, who also worked on the church, were members of the congregation even before the church was built. They attended Mass each Sunday in Lynch Auditorium, where mass on campus was previously celebrated.

“The architects worked with us; they worshipped with us,” said Novinski.

The Chapel of the Incarnation was dedicated on March 24, 1985. The Diocese of Dallas changed the status of the chapel to that of a church in 2001, according to the UD website. The press release also explained that the building is meant to follow “Medieval and Romanesque architectural traditions while remaining rooted in the 20th century.”

According to Novinski, the entire layout of the church was carefully planned. Even the trees along Northgate Drive were planted to make the drive to the church more pleasant. UD students themselves had a hand in the formation, planting those trees and helping lay the bricks for part of the church. Students suggested the location. It was placed in a clearing of a grove of trees where students liked to go to think. The center of campus was also chosen for the church so that, according to Novinksi, “people who came to worship with us had to enter into the [property].”

Novinski said that he intentionally did not have any extra rooms or office spaces built so that the emphasis would solely be on the liturgy and the altar.

Even the name was selected carefully.

“The name was chosen as the most fundamental mystery of the Church: the Incarnation,” Novinski explained.

Though its beginnings were humble, 3,000 people worship at the Church of the Incarnation today, according to the school website.

“It’s been a long road,” Novinski said.

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