The new facility is, well, ugly. As the Anchoress says:
Benedictines are always practical, and certainly, the nuns needed to be freed up from the arduous upkeep of a monastery meant to house many more than 22 sisters (and it is an unqualified good that the handicapped have full access to the house) but part of being practical, to my way of thinking, is realizing that we human beings have hearts that crave beauty. Particularly for enclosed monastics, who spend all of their lives within the confines of their house and chapel and the grounds, the new place seems drearily stark and unjoyful, to me.It's an interesting question that addresses one of the main themes of Brede. Certainly we know where Abbess Hester would stand on the question of beauty. And yet the current Abbess says that the building has hindered their spiritual life. Of course, that does have to be their primary concern. Obviously the new buildings were planned for utility rather than beauty; though I'm not sure that isn't a false dichotomy. Why can't utility still be beautiful? I can imagine the discussion that lead up to the nuns moving away from their beautiful historic Abbey. I wonder whether anyone fought to have a more aesthetically pleasing design for the new place.
In the video clip you can catch a few peeks at the original abbey. More pictures here. I find it helpful in picturing what Brede is supposed to look like.