A new East Window designed by Shirazeh Houshiary, in collaboration with architect Pip Horne, was installed above the altar of St Martin-in-the-Fields in 2008. The commission marked the final stage of the church’s Renewal Project led by Eric Parry Architects. The strong design by Houshiary and Horne adds light to the Grade I listed church, and is one of the most significant pieces of religious art commissioned in modern times.
The glass, held within a stainless steel framework, is made of mouth-blown clear glass panels etched on both sides with a subtle, feathery pattern, a recognisable hallmark of Houshiary’s paintings. The glass panels graduate from a periphery of more transparent glass to a denser, whiter centre. The central ellipse itself is lightly etched, and lit in such a way as to form a focal point of light visible internally and externally.
Describing the work, Reverend Nicholas Holtam, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, has said: ‘The Window is an important part of St Martin’s, as a focus at the East end of the church. Historically the Church has commissioned some of the greatest and most significant art and St Martin’s is pleased to be contributing to that tradition in the twenty-first century.’
The Renewal Project has won many awards in the fields of Architecture, regeneration and heritage, and the East Window itself was short-listed for a 2009 ACE Award for Art in a Religious Context.
A profile of Shirazeh Houshiary with more information about her commission is available on ARTnews.
East Window is part of the St Martin-in-the-Fields Arts Programme, developed and curated by Modus Operandi.