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Sun worship: building churches with light

Appropriately enough some might say, it seems the best material when building churches is natural light. It is light which works its architectural magic at the Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Seattle, turning a downtown block with five stories of affordable housing above, into a colourful place of worship. In each of the examples below light is beckoned in to create churches out of stone, steel, concrete and glass: fiat lux.

Above, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Seattle by Olson Kundig Architects. Below, Acapulco Sunset Church, Mexico by BNKR Arquitectura.

Below, innovatively curved stained glass from Iceland, designed in the late 1950s by Gerour Hegadottir.

Below, the Chapel of St Basil in Houston, Texas by Merriman Holt.

Translucent steel church shaped structures in the Netherlands, part of the ‘Reading Between the Lines’ project by Belgian designers Gijs Van Vaerenbergh.

The tiny concrete Church of the Light designed by Tadao Ando in Osaka, Japan.

Comments (2)

  • Robin Watson

    Gorgeous buildings which really free the Spirit. Shouldn’t that be what Architecture is all about? The best of these examples – I leave you to decide on that for yourself – are somehow timeless and are unlikely to be easily categorised within a stylistic genre; a game so beloved of critics and academics, in years to come. That’s what sets great Architecture apart from the mundane product of stylistic whimsy.

    Sir Basil Spence’s truly magnificent design for Coventry Catherdal is the real MacCoy, setting the bar for a heartfelt response to historical context, light and space – a place of worship and contemplation which celebrates the eternal human Spirit; a building conceived during war time when life was not taken for granted. Check it out – 1950s International Competition winning entry. I absolutely guarantee it’ll blow you away!

  • JL

    Thanks Robin! Have checked out images of Coventry Cathedral and it looks amazing – thanks for the tip. Keep them coming! JL


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