The new field Originally conceived in the Romanesque style a century ago, and now the largest Gothic cathedral (and second largest church) in the world, this Anglican cathedral church is about two-thirds complete. The nave, oriented on an east-west axis, is complete and functions as a church. Its massive stonework is pierced by many splendid stained glass windows, including a magnificent rose window over the west entrance. Absent are the north and south transepts, along with their rose windows. Thus, among the plans for the completion of the build ing in the next century are the construction of two more great rose windows. Following the scheme of the School of Chartres, to the existing west rose (the future) would be added a north rose (the past) and a sourth rose (the present). The past and present, during the construction of the rose windows of Chartres (1200) were the Old and New Testaments, respectively. Today, they might be Christianity and Environmentalism. In any case, the rose window to be constructed at the end of the north transept may be a traditional, static, stained glass window. But, we propose, the rose window for the end of the south transept, to represent the present, must be capable of animation, renewal, and environmental representation. For these reasons and many others, we have therefore envisioned electronic stained glass for this particular window.
The new field In weighing the merits and costs of elec tronic stained glass in a religious setting, we must keep in mind that it already exists and is extensively used at sports events and rock concerts. The main cost of an electronic window (more for construction than materials) is not significantly more than that of a traditional window of stained glass. The merit, as in the case of the Gothic Renaissance stimulated by the School of Chartres, might be the inspiration of a major paradigm shift. Indeed, this is the destiny of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.