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Religious Buildings: The Latest Architecture and News

When Sunlight Meets Tadao Ando’s Concrete

06:30 - 18 April, 2019
When Sunlight Meets Tadao Ando’s Concrete, Vitra Conference Pavilion, Weil am Rhein / Germany. Image © Vitra, by Richard Bryant
Vitra Conference Pavilion, Weil am Rhein / Germany. Image © Vitra, by Richard Bryant

Koshino House, Ashiya-shi / Japan. Image © Kazunori Fujimoto Church of the Light, Osaka / Japan. Image © Naoya Fujii Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth / USA. Image © Todd Landry Photography Screenshot of video of Hill of the Buddha at the Makomanai Takino Cemetery, Sapporo / Japan. Image © Hokkaido Fan Magazine + 8

If there is any consistent factor in his work, says Pritzker-winning architect Tadao Ando, then it is the pursuit of light. Ando’s complex choreography of light fascinates most when the viewer experiences the sensitive transitions within his architecture. Sometimes walls wait calmly for the moment to reveal striking shadow patterns, and other times water reflections animate unobtrusively solid surfaces. His combination of traditional Japanese architecture with a vocabulary of modernism has contributed greatly to critical regionalism. While he is concerned with individual solutions that have a respect for local sites and contexts Ando’s famous buildings – such as the Church of the Light, Koshino House or the Water Temple – link the notion of regional identity with a modern imagining of space, material and light. Shoji walls with diffuse light are reinterpreted in the context of another culture, for instance, filtered through the lens of Rome’s ancient Pantheon, where daylight floods through an oculus. Ando’s masterly imagination culminates in planning spatial sequences of light and dark like he envisioned for the Fondation d’Art Contemporain François Pinault in Paris.

Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque Catches Fire During Notre Dame Blaze

07:26 - 17 April, 2019
Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque Catches Fire During Notre Dame Blaze, Dome of the Rock . Image Courtesy of Pixabay
Dome of the Rock . Image Courtesy of Pixabay

While French firefighters were putting out the destructive blaze at the Notre Dame Cathedral, another holistic site was also up in flames. Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is among the holiest sites in Islam and was built almost 1,300 years ago, was struck by blaze while the monumental Catholic Church was also devastated with fire.

The fire is said to have started in the Al-Marwani Prayer Hall - also known as Solomon's Stables - part of the same compound as Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Fortunately, firemen of the Islamic Waqf department of the city were able to control the fire before any harm was done to the individuals or the other prayer halls. While the cause remains unknown, sources claim that the fire could have been ignited accidentally by children who were near the prayer hall at the time.

10 Of The World's Most Spectacular Sacred Spaces

04:00 - 31 August, 2016
10 Of The World's Most Spectacular Sacred Spaces, Courtesy of Flickr user Flemming Ibsen under CC BY-NC 2.0
Courtesy of Flickr user Flemming Ibsen under CC BY-NC 2.0

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

Light Matters: Le Corbusier and the Trinity of Light

00:00 - 11 February, 2015
Light Matters: Le Corbusier and the Trinity of Light, View looking south to “upwardly springing” waves of light. Church of Saint-Pierre, Firminy, France. Image © Henry Plummer 2011
View looking south to “upwardly springing” waves of light. Church of Saint-Pierre, Firminy, France. Image © Henry Plummer 2011

For his three sacred buildings, Le Corbusier has played masterfully with orientation, openings and textures to create kinetic architecture with daylight. His pilgrimage chapel at Ronchamp, the monastery of Sainte Marie de La Tourette, and the parish church of Saint-Pierre in Firminy reveal distinctive and individual approaches that each render contemplative spaces with light. In his book “Cosmos of Light: The Sacred Architecture of Le Corbusier,” Henry Plummer, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has analysed these projects with outstanding photographs taken over 40 years and brilliant writing.

Read on for more about how Le Corbusier created his cosmos of light.

Corridor to atrium cadenced with sunshine in late morning. Monastery of Sainte Marie de la Tourette, Éveux-sur-l’Arbresle, France. Image © Henry Plummer 2011 Upward view into scoop at sunrise. Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, France. Image © Henry Plummer 2011 Golden light on altar wall. Church of Saint-Pierre, Firminy, France. Image © Henry Plummer 2011 Upward view of fissure and brise-soleil, on overcast day. Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, France. Image © Henry Plummer 2011 + 9

Video: Santiago Calatrava On His Design For Ground Zero's Only Non-Secular Building

00:00 - 9 January, 2015

In a film for the BBC Magazine, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava talks through his designs for the new St. Nicholas Church - the only non-secular building on the 9/11 Memorial site. The building, which broke ground last year, has been described by Calatrava as a "tiny jewel" for lower Manhattan, comprising of a white Vermont marble shrine sat beneath a translucent central cupola that is illuminated from within. The new church, of Greek Orthodox denomination, replaces a church of the same name which was destroyed during the attacks of . It is sited close to its original location on 130 Liberty Street, overlooking the National September 11 Memorial park and museum. With the building set to open in early 2016, Calatrava discusses the key conceptual ideas and references behind its unique, controversial design.

Faith & Form's 2014 Religious Art & Architecture Award Rewards Diversity in Religious Design

00:00 - 4 January, 2015
Faith & Form's 2014 Religious Art & Architecture Award Rewards Diversity in Religious Design, St. Gregory’s Church Agrigento, Italy Pellitteri & Associati Studio. Image © Alessia Riccobono
St. Gregory’s Church Agrigento, Italy Pellitteri & Associati Studio. Image © Alessia Riccobono

Originally published by The Huffington Post as "These Religious Architecture Award Winners Evoke The Sacred In Unconventional Ways," this article reveals the winners in the 2014 Religious Art & Architecture Award run by Faith & Form, an organization dedicated to promoting the architecture of worship.

What makes a space sacred?

If the winners of Faith & Form's 2014 Religious Art & Architecture award are any indication, it may be something different every time. A high ceiling, curved walls, stained glass windows or lush landscaping -- no two winners are alike, and yet each offers viewers a fresh way of interacting with the divine.

Take a look at some of Faith & Form's 2014 award and honor award winners for religious architecture after the break

© Peter Calvin © Paul Lukez Architecture © Alan Karchmer © David Sundberg/Esto + 19

Light Matters: Whiteness in Nordic Countries

00:00 - 29 August, 2014
Light Matters: Whiteness in Nordic Countries, Dybkær Church, Silkeborg, Denmark. Architecture: Regnbuen Arkitekter. Image © Henry Plummer 2010
Dybkær Church, Silkeborg, Denmark. Architecture: Regnbuen Arkitekter. Image © Henry Plummer 2010

The Scandinavian countries have developed great buildings that resonate with both the scarce light in winter and the long summer days. Henry Plummer, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has very carefully studied the various daylight phenomena in the Nordic countries, with extensive photo journeys and brilliant writing that combines an analytical perspective with a poetic touch. His view of daylight looks beyond the practical advantages of using reflective white spaces to facilitate bright rooms; the passionate photographer is much more interested in the light effects that play with the local beauty of nature and touch the human soul.

Read on for more about how Nordic light enters white spaces

Light Matters: Sacred Spaces

09:30 - 28 March, 2014
Light Matters: Sacred Spaces, Chapel in Villeaceron, Spain. Architect: Sancho-Madridejos Architecture Office. Image © Hisao Suzuki
Chapel in Villeaceron, Spain. Architect: Sancho-Madridejos Architecture Office. Image © Hisao Suzuki

The use of light can lead to very diverse feelings: a ray of sunlight calls attention; glare overpowers; the nocturnal sky fascinates, while a dense dark forest arouses fear. Religions have made use of these experiences to convey the mystic aspects of their respective deities — accordingly, so too do their erected buildings.

After the break, an exploration of the different approaches for using light as a vehicle of symbolic meaning and spiritual experience in religious spaces.

Al-Irsyad Mosque, Indonesia. Architects: PT. Urbane Indonesia. Image © Emilio Photoimagination Cathedral of Brasilia, Brazil. Architect: Oscar Niemeyer. Image © Wikimedia Commons Crystal Cathedral, USA. Architect: Philip Johnson. Image Courtesy of American Seating Church of Light, Japan. Architect: Tadao Ando. Image © Buou + 9