Neighbourhood - Buildings

Saint Joseph's Oratory



Achitecture

Begun according to the plans of the architects Viau and Venne, the Oratory was designed in the classic Beaux-Arts style. Perched high atop Mount Royal, it is reminiscent of the Sacré Coeur basilica on the hills of Montmartre overlooking Paris. Both shrines are constituted of basilicas towering over lower crypt churches. In this case, the rectangular crypt church is built of concrete covered with limestone. Stained glass windows illustrate the life of Saint Joseph.

Completely redesigned by the architects Dom Bellot, Rodolphe Tourville, and Lucien Parent, the copper dome and lantern harmonize perfectly with the earlier construction. The basilica's simple but imposing silhouette can be seen for miles around and has become a symbol of the city.

Seen from outside, the monumental portico is supported by four massive Corinthian columns, but the inside is astonishingly modern. The concrete polygonal parabolic arches soar high above a vast enclosure with seating for 2,200 people. The decoration was entrusted to a number of renowned artists, and the Grand Organ by Rudolf von Beckerath is one of the largest he ever built.

The outdoor design possesses a processional character unequalled in Montreal. In 1923, a bronze statue by Alfred Laliberté of Saint Joseph carrying the baby Jesus was inaugurated in front of the Oratory.

Image : HM_ARC_002097

Project - architects Viau and Vienne (Saint-Joseph's Oratory)
J. Alex, Goldi, Publisher
1924
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal(68-2), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, drawing of the crypt according to Viau and Vienne

© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (68-3), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, basilica (Bellot project)

© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (69-12), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, interior of the basilica (in construction)

© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal(116-1), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, construction of crypt
1916
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (114-9), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, crypt construction (with workers)
Circa 1917
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (114-4c), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, crypt interior
Paul Simon

© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal, © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, celebration in the basilica (2002)
Nathalie Dumas
2002
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal(4.1.2.1 (02-05-31) ND(1), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, construction of the dome
Frère Denis, c.s.c.
1937
© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal (99-4), © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory dome and statue of Saint-Joseph by Laliberté

© Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal, © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory, entrance

14 cm x 8.9 cm
© Dinu Bumbaru, © Héritage Montréal

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13.7 cm x 9 cm
© Dinu Bumbaru, © Héritage Montréal

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Saint-Joseph's Oratory

13.9 cm x 8.8 cm
© Dinu Bumbaru, © Héritage Montréal

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8.9 cm x 13.9 cm
© Dinu Bumbaru, © Héritage Montréal

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Print of a gouache study titled Oratoire Saint-Joseph, Frédéric Back
Frédéric Back
1948
TOUTE REPRODUCTION INTERDITE/ ALL REPRODUCTIONS PROHIBITED© Atelier Frédéric Back inc., www.fredericback.com, © Héritage Montréal