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10 Of The World's Most Spectacular Sacred Spaces

Religion, in one form or another, has formed the core of human society for much of our history. It therefore stands to reason that religious architecture has found equal prominence in towns and cities across the globe. Faith carries different meanings for different peoples and cultures, resulting in a wide variety of approaches to the structures in which worship takes place: some favor sanctuaries, others places of education and community, while others place the greatest emphasis on nature itself. Indeed, many carry secondary importance as symbols of national power or cultural expression.

AD Classics are ArchDaily's continually updated collection of longer-form building studies of the world's most significant architectural projects. The collection of sacred spaces collated here invariably reveal one desire that remains constant across all faiths and cultures: shifting one’s gaze from the mundane and everyday and fixing it on the spiritual, the otherworldly, and the eternal.

Courtesy of Flickr user Arian Zweger under CC BY 2.0 Courtesy of Flickr user Futo-Tussauds under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 © Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia Courtesy of Flickr user Naoya Fujii under CC BY-NC 2.0 + 10

AD Classics: North Christian Church / Eero Saarinen

© Hassan Bagheri
© Hassan Bagheri

Just off the highway that leads to the town of Columbus, Indiana, the most slender of spires shoots upward from the tree line. With only a small gold cross at the top suggesting its purpose, the spire seems to belong to another world, an expressive gesture reaching into the sky that extends far beyond its visible tip. As visitors approach, the base of the spire fans out and merges with the ground, subsuming it and metaphysically bridging the distance between the heavens and the Earth. This is the famous North Christian Church, Eero Saarinen’s stunning discourse on God, nature and architecture.

Oculus. Image © Flickr user noktulo © Hassan Bagheri © Hassan Bagheri Roof Plan + 12