On July 26th, 2013, Salvador Camacho Bracero walked up to the North Melbourne Presbytery and said that he was the architect of the Cathedral. What a pleasant surprise!
Salvador was a young architect with the firm Smith and Tracey in the late 1950s, who were awarded the contract to design the new Ukrainian cathedral. Salvador remembers the many good meals with Bishop Ivan Prasko, Father Mykola Melnyk and liason person Orion Wenhrynowycz. “What a fine bunch of people” he added.
Mr. Bracero was accompanied by Jose Herguedas, who is writing a book about Salvador. A number of engineers from Spain, also came along, who are here on a study tour, to look at the work of the Spanish architect.
When he walked into the cathedral, he stood in silence for a while. “You have done a lot of work here! It is so beautiful” were the first words of the now 86 year old architect.
He went on to explain that there is a new Ukrainian Catholic Church in Madrid, Spain, being built at this time. It takes its inspiration from our Cathedral, and looks similar, he added. Salvador has spent a lot of time in Spain recently, and is returning there in a short while.
He said that he had original sketches of the proposed Cathedral in his files. He has passed on these sketches to the Eparchy. It’s interesting how the man was thinking – he obviously did a lot of research on the Byzantine style before he started to design.
While the actual input of local parishioners into the final design is a bit of a mystery at this time, it is clear that many local Ukrainians had a hand in designing the Cathedral. It would seem that Mr. Ihor Osidach and Mr. Orion Wenhrynowycz had an input. It would be good to see their designs and have them in our museum archives.
Perhaps this unexpected visit from the original architect will spark more interest in the history of our beautiful Cathedral.
This post is also available in: Ukrainian