Mount Angel Abbey & Seminary / Field Trip
11 November 2016
Mount Angel Abbey, Lehman Pekkola.
Upon arriving at Mount Angel Abbey, I had but one preconceived image in my mind -- the mysterious & eerie driveway leading into the facility. I’ve drove past Mount Angel on a number of occasions, but have never had the chance to enter in. The Abbey, in a sense, became this symbol for me; a place in which I could never go, the unknown, sacred ground. I had seen an image of Mount Angel my sophomore year at Fox ( although I hadn’t realized it at the time ) and for whatever reason the image stayed engrained in my mind. I thought to myself, I must visit that place some day. Now my only recollection was that it was taken at an Abbey, and based on proximity I thought it was from 'Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey' … so you can imagine my disappointment when I took a visit, but there was no brick courtyard to be found. Needless to say, I was very excited to find that we would be travelling to Mount Angel, as I have long anticipated seeing it’s grounds. And did it ever exceed my expectations.
The drive to Mount Angel was breathtaking in and of itself -- the fog-encompassed countryside made it feel as if we were driving through a dream. I believe Becky, Corrie, and Kelsey would agree with me in that the our time at Mount Angel felt very much like our Junior's Abroad trip this past summer. And it was wonderful. Much reminiscence took place as we continued to walk the grounds. I snapped the picture above as we made our entrance onto Mount Abbey's campus, stunned by it's beauty. THIS was the shot I was anticipating for so long. The fact that we were on a hill only further played into the dream-like qualities of my field trip experience, we were ( figuratively or metaphorically ) closer to Heaven. It’s hard to put into words exactly how I felt, but transcendence was taking place. It truly did feel like sacred ground.
Library Interior, Mount Angel Abbey.
Although the exterior of Mount Angel captured most of my attention, one building in particular struck me upon entering. During our pleasant tour by Brother Andre, we stopped by the Abbey Library -- a place I swear I could have spent days in. The light, the architecture, the atmosphere, everything about it ( once again ) transported me. Having been an avid loather of reading until just recently, I was shocked to be completely entranced by the space. Who knew there would be such a structure hidden away on a hill in the Oregon countryside?
After doing a bit of research on the architect who designed the Abbey library, Alvar Aalto, it comes as no surprise why I love the structure. First of all, he’s from Finland and is known for reflecting Nordic Classicism, Modernistic Style, as well as paving way for Scandinavian Design to take form. Scandinavian culture has become adherent to me in the past few years as being extremely influential in my work -- a factor I feel has been ingrained in me since childhood. I come from Finnish descent so I’ve always felt a special connection. I even was researching grad schools in Finland, one in particular called Aalto University, appropriately named after Alvar Aalto himself. How coincidental. You can view more of his work here. Mind you, this website doesn’t do his work justice, I encourage you to do a Google search on him. I also encourage you, if you're interested in visiting Finland, to check out CEREAL Magazine's city guide of Helsinki, here. Below are a few images from Volume 5 of CEREAL, showcasing Aalto's most famous work, Finlandia Hall.
Finlandia Hall, Rich Stapleton.
The print though. When I said I could spend days in this library, I was really referring to the fascination with every. single. piece. of. print. Editorials & publication work is what fascinates me most as a designer, and to see that amount of good & tactile design in print gave me such joy. The photo below showcases one of my favorite covers. What I appreciated about the books in this library is that they were understated, they weren’t showing off, they were simple, direct, and they were there to be read. They weren’t placed there to be viewed as art, they were there for reading and learning and the design was so very reflective of that. I was in love. What an inspiring trip.
Publication, Lehman Pekkola.