The architectural design of places of worship is evolving beyond traditional typologies3. Architects are experimenting with elements like light, scale, form, and cutting-edge architectural technologies. Examples of these innovations include the Sanctuario De La Salle in the Philippines, which embraces organic shapes and fluid lines, and the Church of the Holy Family in Brasília that illuminates the relationship between the spiritual and environmental realms. This new era of religious architecture redefines our understanding of sacred spaces, creating spiritual places that inspire and engage on multiple levels.
How is the architectural design of places of worship evolving?
The architectural design of places of worship is evolving beyond traditional typologies. Architects are experimenting with elements like light, scale, form, and cutting-edge architectural technologies. Examples of these innovations include the Sanctuario De La Salle in the Philippines, which embraces organic shapes and fluid lines, and the Church of the Holy Family in Brasília that illuminates the relationship between the spiritual and environmental realms. This new era of religious architecture redefines our understanding of sacred spaces, creating spiritual places that inspire and engage on multiple levels.
Religion represents a deep well of symbolic meaning, and its physical manifestations – places of worship – are crucial components of these belief systems. These sacred spaces, with their well-conceived architectural designs, allow the abstract and conceptual aspects of spirituality to be embodied in tangible and concrete forms.
The design of these spaces is more than just about providing a venue for faith. It’s about creating areas for introspection, facilitating vast congregations for communal worship, and giving form to the fundamental tenets of faith. Yet, the architectural landscape of these religious spaces has evolved far beyond traditional and established typologies.
Architects are now pushing the boundaries of design in religious spaces, experimenting with light, scale, form, and even the latest architectural technologies. These forays into architectural innovation are creating new and enticing sacred spaces1, which have been recognized and awarded at the 11th A+Awards.
1. Embracing the Curvilinear: Sanctuario De La Salle, Philippines
This stunning church in the Philippines, designed by CAZA, represents a significant deviation from the conventional cruciform plan that has characterized many historic places of worship. Instead, the Sanctuario De La Salle is defined by its dynamic and amorphous form, eschewing precise angles for fluid, curvilinear lines.
Its unique design not only embraces organic shapes but also fosters a continual dialogue between the internal world of worship and the external landscape. At the core of the church lies the drum-shaped congregation hall, framed by a sweeping clerestory window.
2. Innovations in Glazing: Church of the Holy Family, Brasília
ARQBR Arquitectura e Urbanismo’s design of the Church of the Holy Family in Brasília is a testament to the inventiveness of modern religious architecture. It seeks to reestablish a connection with the natural environment, illuminating the relationship between the spiritual and environmental realms.
3. Paying Tribute to History: Saint Sarkis Church, Texas
David Hotson_Architect’s Saint Sarkis Church in East Texas is an homage to historical ecclesiastical tradition from thousands of miles away. The church’s design draws from the Armenian church of Saint Hripsime, featuring a similar domed form.
4. Nature in Architecture: Meristem Chapel, Canada
Located in British Columbia, the Meristem Chapel by MOTIV Architects is a peaceful sanctuary designed to reconnect individuals with the organic landscape. It stands as a stark contrast to the frenzied pace of modern life, offering a tranquil and calming space for contemplation.
5. Experimentation with Perforated Skins: Kol Emeth Center, California
The Kol Emeth Center by Field Architecture, a synagogue in California, is a blend of centuries-old traditions and contemporary values. The synagogue is surrounded by a striking perforated skin, a stunning example of parametric design, with rotating timber slats carefully designed to maximize light levels.
6. Unifying Contrasting Typologies: Madaline Terrace, Missouri
Designed by Dake Wells Architecture, Madaline Terrace is a unique project that merges two contrasting typologies: a private law practice and a chapel. This innovative structure sits at the junction of Springfield’s commercial district and a serene neighborhood, offering a visually compelling fusion of architectural forms and functions.
The exciting new era of religious architecture continues to redefine our understanding of sacred spaces2, pushing boundaries, and introducing innovative design elements. From embracing organic shapes to innovating with lighting and engaging with the natural landscape, these transformations are creating spiritual spaces that inspire and engage on multiple levels.
In simple words, the design of places of worship, like churches and synagogues, is changing. Architects are trying new things with light, shape, size, and technology. For example, some churches have curved lines instead of straight lines, and some have windows that let in a lot of light. These changes are making these places feel more special and inspiring. Some new churches are even designed to fit in with the natural environment. Overall, these changes are making religious spaces more interesting and meaningful.