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Religious Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News

Experience the "Brutal Faith" of Gottfried Böhm's Pilgrimage Church in Neviges

This exclusive photo essay by Laurian Ghinitoiu was originally commissioned for the fifth issue of LOBBY. Available later this month, the latest issue of the London-based magazine—published in cooperation with the Bartlett School of Architecture—examines the theme of Faith as "a fervent drive, a dangerous doctrine, a beautifully fragile yet enduring construct, an unapologetic excuse, a desperate call for attention and a timely consideration on architectural responsibility."

In 1986 the Pritzker Architecture Prize announced their first German laureate. In a speech at the ceremony in London’s Goldsmiths’ Hall, the Duke of Gloucester suggested that the prize “may not guarantee immorality,” inferring, perhaps, that not even the most prestigious award in architecture could compete with an œuvre so compact, focussed and enduring as that of Gottfried Böhm – a “son, grandson, husband, and father of architects.”

Courtesy LOBBY Magazine. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Courtesy LOBBY Magazine. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Courtesy LOBBY Magazine. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Courtesy LOBBY Magazine. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu + 24

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

Why Islamic Architecture in the United States is Failing American Muslims

This essay by Jenine Kotob was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Why Now, More Than Ever, We Need A New Islamic Architecture."

At a time when Muslims find themselves at the center of the nation’s political stage, the topic of Islamic architecture in the United States is more relevant than ever. The American mosque has become a prominent symbol, within which identities, practices, and cultures converge. More often than not, this convergence results in conflicting goals, further resulting in mosques that fail to identify and serve the needs of their diverse constituents.

Quadratura Circuli Aim to Revive Russian Religious Architecture with Cultural Center in Reykjavik

Religious architecture in Russia, arguably, remains backward-looking. With the Soviet Union’s anti-religious stance in the 20th century, religious architecture found little opportunity to grow. Russian architect, Philip Yakubchuk argues that only recently has religious Russian architecture begun “learning to walk again” as it discovers its once-rich history. Quadratura Circuli, a trio of young Russian designers Daniil Makarov, Ivan Zemlyakov, and Yakubchuk, are eager to move beyond the image of St Basil’s Cathedral—seeking to revitalize and create a new image of Russian religious architecture for the 21st century.

The group’s Latin name translates to “Squaring the Circle” which is a metaphor used to describe a task that is believed to be impossible—a striking name for a group dedicated entirely to “designing temples for the people of today.” However, with their proposal for a Russian Orthodox Cultural Center in Reykjavik, Iceland, Cuadratura Circuli demonstrates that it is not impossible to link the art of the past and the culture of the present.

Courtesy of Cuadratura Circuli Courtesy of Cuadratura Circuli Courtesy of Cuadratura Circuli Courtesy of Cuadratura Circuli + 10

Yale Students Propose a Series of Pop-Up Religious Buildings to Sustain Culture in Refugee Camps

The theme for this year’s Venice Biennale is largely an invitation for architects and designers to expand and think beyond architecture’s traditional frontiers and to respond to a wider range of challenges relating to human settlement. With news of political crises continuing to fill the headlines of late, Aravena’s theme challenges architects to respond. One such response comes from Lucas Boyd and Chad Greenlee from the Yale School of Architecture. They believe that:

While [places of worship] do not provide a basic need for an individual’s biological survival, they do represent a fundamental aspect of not only an individual’s life beyond utility, but an identity within the collective, a familiar place of being—and this is something that we consider synonymous with being human—a requirement for the persistence of culture.

The two students came up with proposal designs on churches, synagogues and mosques that can be quickly built as “Pop-Up Places of Worship” in refugee camps. By presenting immediately-recognizable sacred spaces that are transportable and affordable, Boyd and Greenlee highlight spaces for worship as an absolute necessity in any type of human settlement. Through this process, the students also determine what, for them, is “necessary” in a religious structure.

Courtesy of Lucas Boyd and Chad Greenlee Courtesy of Lucas Boyd and Chad Greenlee Courtesy of Lucas Boyd and Chad Greenlee Courtesy of Lucas Boyd and Chad Greenlee + 16

Light of Allah Mosque / Ibrahim Ma

Courtesy of Ibrahim Ma Courtesy of Ibrahim Ma Courtesy of Ibrahim Ma Courtesy of Ibrahim Ma + 19

Xingping, China
  • Architects: Ibrahim Ma
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area: 420.0 m2
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2015

AL_A Wins Competition to Design Abu Dhabi Mosque

AL_A has won a competition to design a new mosque within the Foster + Partner-designed World Trade Center complex in Abu Dhabi. The 2000-square-meter project, envisioned as a "pathway to serenity" rather than a single building, leads visitors on a journey through an informal park of palm trees that slowly align with the mosque's shifted grid as users approach the Prayer Hall. Once inside, visitors are facing towards Mecca.

"The mosque is envisaged as a piece of the city, one that reflects the journey from the temporal to the spiritual," said AL_A director Ho-Yin Ng. "The mosque and the garden become one, with the trees and the columns forming an informal vertical landscape and allowing Friday prayers to spill outside."

Hiroshi Nakamura Describes the Inspiration Behind the Ribbon Chapel in This Stunning Video

Hiroshi Nakamura, architect of the Ribbon Chapel in Japan, describes the design ideology and his personal favorite elements of the project in this stunning new video by Matthew Allard ACS. Shooting the chapel at various times during the day, its changing characteristics are captured in the movement of the light and camera, the twisting concrete forms seeming to dance.

Michael Rotondi on His Approach to Designing Sacred Spaces

There are few challenges within architecture as distinctive as designing religious or spiritual spaces. While these projects share the functional challenges of more everyday architecture, the expectation of a deeply-felt spiritual experience adds an extra challenge to these designs that make them unlike most other commissions. How can architects approach such a challenge? In this excerpt from Sherin Wing's forthcoming book "Designing Sacred Spaces," Michael Rotondi of RoTo Architecture discusses how his approach to life informs his approach to designing religious architecture.

Mr. Rotondi’s outlook is guided by an unending curiosity: “I want to know everything about everything before I die and it’s not possible. So I see any project that comes along as a potential research project as well as whatever the practical things I have to solve. So I’m always trying to think about the things I think about often and in different ways. It would be nice if I could see the world as if for the first time like children do, where you have no basis for knowing something because it’s the first time you’ve seen it, it’s the first time you’ve experienced it. And so you see it with great wonder. When you see things over and over again, you see them like an expert.

Cy Twombly Painting Sells for $70.5 Million to Fund OMA's LA Synagogue Extension

OMA's first ever building for a religious institution will be constructed with a little help from one of the United States' greatest 20th century artists. In an auction at Sotheby's in New York yesterday, Cy Twombly's 1968 "Untitled (New York City)" - one of the artist's notable "Blackboard Paintings" - sold for $70.5 million, $30 million of which will be donated to LA's Wilshire Boulevard Temple by the painting's owner, Audrey Irmas, to fund the temple's OMA-designed extension.

As reported by the LA Times, the synagogue's new "Audrey Irmas Pavilion" has been designed to be "clearly in dialogue" with the 1929 Byzantine revival temple, and will be used in the celebration of weddings and bar mitzvahs, as well as for meetings, conferences, and gala events by other nonprofit groups. Though the design has not yet been unveiled, the pavilion is currently slated for a 2019 opening.

Translucent Concrete Animates the Facade of this Abu Dhabi Mosque

By day, the concrete facade of APG Architecture and Planning Group's latest project, the Al Aziz Mosque in Abu Dhabi, features protruding elements of Arabic script spelling out the 99 names of God from the Quran. By night though, the 515 square meter facade is transformed, as the concrete script lights up in the darkness. The effect is made possible thanks to the translucent concrete paneling system provided by German-based manufacturer LUCEM.


Richard Silver's Stunning Vertical Panoramas of New York Churches

Seasoned photographer Richard Silver has captured the beauty of New York's churches unlike any other. By seamlessly stitching together a series of composite images from each location, Silver has created a stunning set of vertical panoramas that reveal the interiors of New York's most impressive religious structures.

“Finding the perfect location in the center aisle then shooting vertically from the pew to the back of the church gives the perspective that only architecture of this style can portray,” Silver told Colossal.

Church of St. Francis Xavier. Image © Richard Silver Photo Church of the Village. Image © Richard Silver Photo Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Bernard's Church. Image © Richard Silver Photo St. Monica's Church. Image © Richard Silver Photo + 15

Competition Entry: Istanbul Gülsuyu Cemevi and Cultural Center

Melike Altınışık and Gül Ertekin have shared with us their proposal for the İstanbul Gülsuyu Cemevi and Cultural Center Competition. Hosted by Maltepe Municipality of Istanbul, Turkey, the competition asked participants to design a religious and cultural complex for the Alevi population (a religious minority group practicing Islam) that can serve modern society’s needs and honor past culture.

Bow-Yun Temple / Studiobase Architects

© Yuan, Wei-Ming © Yuan, Wei-Ming © Yuan, Wei-Ming © Yuan, Wei-Ming + 25

Al-Ansar Mosque / ONG&ONG Pte Ltd

© Bai Jiwen © Bai Jiwen © Bai Jiwen © Bai Jiwen + 31

  • Architects: ONG&ONG Pte Ltd
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2015

Huge Fire Damages Basilica of Saint-Donatien in Nantes

The Basilica of Saint-Donatien in Nantes has been significantly damaged by a huge fire. As reported by the BBC, the fire started at around 10:30 am local time, and is believed to have broken out on the roof of the building in connection with waterproofing work.

Chinmaya Mission Austin / Miró Rivera Architects

© Paul Finkel | Piston Design © Paul Finkel | Piston Design © Paul Finkel | Piston Design © Paul Finkel | Piston Design + 21

Austin, United States

Open Call: 2015 Faith & Form/IFRAA International Awards Program

Submissions are invited for the 2015 Faith & Form/IFRAA International Awards Program, which recognizes excellence in the design of religious architecture, restoration and renovation of religious buildings, religious arts, religious landscape design, the design of unbuilt religious projects, and student design projects for spiritual environments. The winners of the awards program will be chosen by an independent jury panel of recognized experts in the field and will be published globally. All submissions are digital and the deadline is June 30, 2015. More information can be found here.