Religious places have been the focus of attention for a long time now and many centuries have witnessed the making of grand structures of churches, mosques, temples, etc. all around the world. As we are moving further into the modern world, the architectural style of these religious and spiritual structures is also evolving. It transitioned from the intricate details of rock-cut temples to the modern-day minimalistic designs of churches, though the ideology seems to have remained the same all these years. Designing and planning a place of worship is one of the most challenging and compensating endeavors a designer will experience during his practice, and everyone perceives it differently hence the varied designs.

Here are a few architects who are shattering all the limits and dominating in the field of planning and designing Religious Buildings.

1. Gensler, USA

Gensler is an architecture and design firm operating from various  locations all around the world. It is a global team focused on reimagining the future of cities through critical and hopeful transformation. According to them, in a time of transformation, design can play a unique and profound role, and they continue to cultivate a culture of design innovation to promote diverse thinking. They are pushing the boundaries of architecture, design, and technology by integrating physical and digital designs to create fresh and connected experiences. For them, architecture is a means to perceive a sacred interrelation through the surrounding environment and to understand the significance of creating meaningful gathering spaces.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, Gratz Center, Chicago, Illinois
  • Pavillon Notre Dame, Paris, France
  • Jewish Colorado, Denver, Colorado
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Front Facade of the Gratz Center, Chicago © gensler.com
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Prayer Room inside the Gratz Center, Chicago © thresholdacoustics.com
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View of the Notre Dame Pavillon, Paris © dezeen.com
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Interior view of the Pavillon, Paris © dezeen.com
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Exterior view of the Jewish Colorado, Denver © archdaily.com

2. LS3P, USA

LS3P is an architectural firm that was started by Ar. Frank Lucas in a single room office in South Carolina. Their mission is to engage clients to design meaningful places that serve people, organizations, institutions, and communities. They create architecture that enhances the community through a culture of design excellence, expertise, innovation, and collaborative engagement. Their “Faith Team” which focuses on designing religious structures has built around 36 churches in the US. The team while following the firm’s ideology works closely with each client to design inspiring, supportive facilities including spaces to learn, gather, serve, and worship.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • The Summit Church – Capital Hill Broadcast Campus, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Pitt County Memorial Hospital Chapel, Greenville, South Carolina
  • The Journey Church, Florida
  • Walhalla Presbyterian Church, Walhalla, South Carolina
  • NorthSide Baptist Church, Greenwood, South Carolina
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Entry of the Summit Church, North Carolina © ls3p.com
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Walhalla Presbyterian Church, South Carolina © ls3p.com
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NorthSide Baptist Church, South Carolina © induced.info

 

3. Kirksey Architecture, USA

Kirksey Architecture is a firm with  expertise in collaborative, sustainable, and unique architectural design. They aim at transforming the client’s vision into a tailored solution. Their mission, “healthy buildings, healthy people, healthy planet” is the most evident in their design philosophy and practice. Having designed  religious buildings across  the country, they understand the importance of maintaining the purpose of Religious Space as they keep experimenting with their designs. When designing a new worship space, they develop an inviting presence, while inspiring social engagement and incorporating the latest technology.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • River Pointe Community Church, Houston, Texas
  • Houston’s First Baptist Church, Cypress, Texas
  • Tallowood Baptist Church, Houston, Texas
  • Parkway United Methodist Church, Sugar Land, Texas
Kirksey Architecture, USA
Parkway United Methodist Church, Texas ©kirksey.com

 

4. RDG Planning and Design, USA

RDG is a US-based firm that firmly believes that great architecture is more than just how a design looks, rather it is about how it makes you feel. No matter what kind of project they are working on, they strive to find the best answer for their clients and the future occupants. When it comes to religious buildings, for them the place where one gathers to worship should be uplifting and special. Their goal is to create beautiful architecture that glorifies God, expresses one’s faith, and supports prayer.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • St. James Catholic Church, Kearney, Nebraska
  • Church of the Nativity, Leawood, Kansas
  • Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Catholic Church, Ankeny, Iowa
  • New Horizon Presbyterian Church, Council Bluffs, Iowa
  • Prairie Ridge Church, Ankeny, Iowa
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Entrance Porch of the St. James Catholic Church, Nebraska
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Prayer Room of the Church of Nativity, Kansas © rdgusa.com
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View of the Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Catholic Church, Iowa
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Rear facade of the New Horizon Presbyterian Church, Iowa
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Exterior View of the Prairie Ridge Church, Iowa © rdgusa.com

5. HGA Architects and Engineers, USA

HGA is a national multidisciplinary design firm rooted in architecture and engineering. They believe that enduring, impactful design results from deep insight into the people and passions that animate each unique environment. Their core values include empathy, curiosity, hard work, originality, and legacy. They have excelled in designing sacred spaces by creating timeless and significant designs that focus on gratifying the human soul with its beauty and serenity.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum, Minnesota
  • Temple Israel Expansion and Renovation, Minnesota
  • United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Kansas
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Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum, Minnesota © archdaily.com
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Interior view of Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum, Minnesota
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Expansion and Renovation of Temple Israel, Minnesota
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View of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Kansas
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Main Prayer Hall of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Kansas © flickr.com

6. GFF Architects, USA

GFF is a distinguished, award-winning, multi-disciplinary design firm based in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin with a strong passion for creating memorable places.GFF serves as the overall corporate umbrella for four divisions: GFF Architects, Interiors, Landscape, and Planning. The firm strives to exceed client objectives and advance its vision as well as with a commitment to positively impacting people and the planet. They design spiritually, environmentally and community-driven designs that stand out through the test of time.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • First United Methodist Church of Richardson, Richardson, Texas
  • Northridge Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas
  • Chase Oaks Church, Fairview, Texas
  • Milestone Church, Keller, Texas
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Chase Oaks Church, Texas © gff.com
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View of the Foyer Area of Chase Oaks Church, Texas © gff.com
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Entrance porch of the Milestone Church, Texas © gff.com

7. Parkhill Architects, USA

Parkhill Architects were initially established as Parkhill, Smith & Cooper Inc. in the year 1945 in Lubbock, Texas. The firm provides comprehensive architectural and engineering design services for a multitude of projects.  Their mission is to build communities by creating inventive, relevant built environments together. They believe in transforming the community by facilitating an extraordinary, enlightening client experience that results in making visions into reality. PSC’s Church Studio helps craft “your story” so that one can effectively communicate and present the vision for their project through various mediums.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • Bacon Heights Baptist Church, Lubbock, Texas
  • Mid-Cities Community Church, Midland, Texas
  • First Presbyterian Church, Midland, Texas
  • Willow Park Baptist Church, Willow Park, Texas
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Entry of the Bacon Heights Baptist Church, Texas © parkhill.com
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Inside the Mid-cities Community Church, Texas © parkhill.com
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Interior colorful views of the Mid-cities Community Church, Texas

8. Ziegler Cooper Architects, USA

Since their founding in the year 1977, the firm has been guided by their strong belief that inspirational architecture enriches people’s lives, uplifts the human spirit, and provides a constant vision of excellence. They think that designing a religious place is an outward expression of the faith of the client and a physical invitation for others to join in the celebration of faith.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • Shrine of the True Cross Catholic Church, Dickinson, Texas
  • St. John Lutheran Church & School, Cypress, Texas
  • Memorial Lutheran Church & School, Houston, Texas
  • St. Paul The Apostle Catholic Church, Houston, Texas
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Exterior View of the St. John Lutheran Church ©bdcnetwork.com
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Memorial Lutheran Church, Texas ©zieglercooper.com

9. Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Japan

Tadao Ando is a self-taught architect born in 1941 in Osaka, Japan, and later established his firm in 1969. He has won many awards for his excellency in the field and the highest award, Pritzker Architecture Prize in the year 1995. His buildings are marked by a masterful command of the elements, including natural light that diffuses into interiors at just the right angles, pools of water that reflect his angular designs, and ventilation methods that mimic human breathing. He believes that focusing on nothingness can lead to discovering great beauty in a space. He uses clean lines and blank facades with stunning focal points, thus enhancing the grandeur of the space.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • Church of the Light, Japan
  • Church on the Water, Japan
  • Hill of the Buddha, Japan
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Interior view of the Church of the Light, Japan © archdaily.com
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Church on the Water, Japan © pinterest.com
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Hill of the Buddha Temple as seen from the inside © archdaily.com

10. Hiroshi Nakamaru and NAP, Japan

Hiroshi Nakamaru, born in 1974 is a Japanese Architect. He has presented a unique concept in his designs with the main focus being the meaning the place holds in terms of culture and religion. His works are based on the concept that architecture should be designed to facilitate communication. He says that his motto is to make works that let people feel a personal connection with both the building and the surrounding nature.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • The Sayama Forest Chapel, Japan
  • Sayama Lakeside Cemetery Community Hall, Japan
  • The Ribbon Chapel, Japan
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The Sayama Forest Chapel, Japan © archeyes.com
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Interior View of the Sayama Forest Chapel, Japan © yatzer.com
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Sayama Lakeside Cemetery Community Hall, Japan © archdaily.com
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Ribbon Chapel, Japan © archdaily.com

11. Takashi Yamaguchi, Japan

Takashi Yamaguchi is a Japanese architect, born in Kyoto. He was a founding member of ARX, an international research group for theory and practice of architecture. He believes that architectural creation is an act of breaking down the totality of elements – time, history, tradition, and so on; that exist in a place, to reunite those elements in a world of new meaning. When inserted in its place, the new architecture and the meaning it embodies transform the existing meaning with their presence is his belief. 

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • Glass Temple, Kyoto
  • White Temple, Kyoto
Takashi Yamaguchi, Japan
The Glass Temple, Kyoto © gooood.cn

 

12. John Pawson, United Kingdom

John Pawson has spent over thirty years making rigorously simple architecture that speaks of the fundamentals but is also modest. His works span to a wide range of scales and typologies. His method is to approach buildings and design commissions, so a sense of engaging with the essence of the philosophy of space through everything the eye sees or the hand touches.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • Wooden Chapel, Unterliezheim, Germany
  • Moritzkirche, Augsburg, Germany
  • Archabbey of Pannonhalma, Hungary
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The Wooden Chapel, Germany © dezeen.com
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The arches, an important element of the Moritzkirche © divisare.com
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Archabbey of Pannonhalma, Hungary © johnpawson.com

13. Niall McLaughlin Architects, London

Niall McLaughlin Architects is a practice that designs high-quality modern architecture. They put a strong emphasis on the inventive use of building materials, the qualities of light, and the relationship between the building and its surroundings. Their practice does not specialize in particular building types. The firm uses a great range of materials in their projects and inventively combine traditional and new construction techniques.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • Bishop Edward King Chapel, Oxford
  • Carmelite Prayer Room, Dublin
  • Carmelite Monastery, London
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Carmelite Prayer Room, Dublin © niallmclaughlin.com
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Inside the Carmelite Monastery, London © pinterest.com
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Carmelite Monastery, London © niallmclaughlin.com

14. Bunker Arquitectura, Mexico

It is a Mexico based architecture, urbanism, and research office founded by Esteban Suarez in 2005. The firm aims to explore and experiment architecture on the widest scale possible: from small iconic chapels for private clients to an urban master plan for an entire city. Bunker ultimately believes in giving unique and outside the box solutions to specific problems, leaving behind the quest for a personal style or branded architecture. It has an innate talent to build non-conventional designs that stand out whilst maintaining the goodness of a place of worship.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • Sunset Chapel, Guerrero, Mexico
  • Ecumenical Chapel, Morelos, Mexico
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Prayer Hall of Sunset Chapel, Mexico © archdaily.com
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Prayer Hall of Sunset Chapel, Mexico © archdaily.com
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Inside the Ecumenical Chapel, Mexico © archdaily.com

15. Sameep Padora (sP+a), India

As an architectural practice, sP+A believes that India’s vast breadth of socio-cultural environments requires multifarious means of engaging with the country’s varying contexts. They question the nostalgia involved with the static ‘museumification’ of craft and tradition as well as the nature of what today comprises the ‘regional’ in contexts amplified by their place in global and regional works. The studio structure actively engages with research, collaborations, and collective models of practice not as isolated individual formats but as symbiotic streams feeding into each other.

Their leading works in the field of religious architecture include:

  • Jetavan, Maharashtra, India
  • Shiv Temple, Wadeshwar, India
  • The Temple of Steps, Nandyala, India
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View of the Jetavan, India © archdaily.com
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Shiv Temple by Sameep Padora, India © archdaily.com
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Sectional Elevation of the Temple of Steps, India © archdaily.com

References:

Kritendeep Kaur Dalam
Author

A recent graduate who is always looking for creative opportunities and has a strong passion for writing. She is also a firm believer that in times like today, we as architects must show our creativity not by demolishing old structures, but rather adopting the old ones with new uses.

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