Man has always been searching for ways to express his emotions through art in different ways and trying on innovative techniques. This is majorly experienced through the development of architecture over the centuries. We have already experienced the transition of the church architecture from the early Christian to the recent era. But at the beginning of the modern era, with the innovation in materials and techniques, and also the design methodology, the architecture of the church has shown a drastic change in the forms and materials. But despite the movement, the philosophy behind each church design remains the same. Let’s have a look at the modern church designs.
1. The Cathedral of Maringa, Brazil | Modern church designs
Dominating the skyline of Brazil with its sharp and bold conical shape, the Cathedral of Maringa stands 124meters high and has gained recognition as the highest church in South America. The conical shape is inspired by the Soviet satellites in the era in which it was built 1959 – 1972. This concept also reflects on the inside, where a staircase leads to an observatory on the 14th floor to get the views of the city from a comparatively smaller proportioned window. The doubled layered cone gently gives rise to sharp triangular projections fitted with stained glass that fill up the interiors with colorful lights.
2. Metropolitan Cathedral of San Sebastian, Brazil
Looking like a giant Mayan pyramid is the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Sebastian, with a few features from the gothic churches, but expressing the same in a unique design. The church has a surprising interior that creates a magical moment inside the space. The dim space takes the attention to the cross right on top, which continues down providing a kaleidoscope of colors, in four cardinal directions illuminated by the daylight, on the surfaces of the conical wall, taking away focus from the innumerable square punctures in the walls, and symbolizing the light of God as well as bringing them closer to god.
3. First Presbyterian Church, Connecticut | Modern church designs
This church is also known as the Fish Church because of its fish-like shape- a symbol of Early Christianity. The interior of the church is filled with colorful lights formed by the stained glass windows with a unique pattern, covering the entire wall. The exterior walls are cladded with slates to represent ‘scales’.
4. Temppeliaukio church, Finland
The partially hidden design of Temppeliaukio church or the ‘Church of the Rock’, was created by excavating the rock formation, in a slightly undulating manner. The altarpiece sits right beneath the lowest-leveled rock wall to allow for the maximum light to fall on the crucifix. Though in the middle of the city, the dome roof, the tactile rock wall, which is also responsible for the remarkable acoustic quality, a circular strip of light, and a sober color palette, create a sense of security and calmness within the user in the otherwise small space.
5. San Josemaría Escrivá Church, Mexico | Modern church designs
This is a unique shaped church having dark interiors with a massive triangular form. The skylight enters the building through a skylight in a cross shape. The zinc-coated exterior walls flow gently towards the sky and create a texture of light and shadow due to the sun. The single source of light creates a comfortable feeling within the users.
6. Arctic Cathedral or Tromsdalen Church, Tromsø
The Tromsdalen Church sits merged with the stunning mountainous landscape, yet shows its boldness amid the scenery, from a distance which is distinct due to its pointed triangular characteristic. This unusual structure has a cross at the entrance that distinguishes it as a church from a faraway distance. The colorful stained-glass on the opposite side creates a stark contrast to the rich blue sky in the background in the day and creates a silhouette to the northern lights in the dark hours. The 11 aluminum-coated concrete panels on either side of the form are separated with slits in between them which transmits light into the darkness outside during the dark hours, making it visible from all parts of Tromsø. Yet among its stunning exterior, the interior is yet calm and simple.
7. The Holy Redeemer Church, Spain | Modern church designs
This voluminous church is based on the play of light and darkness. The bold concrete volume with slits in-between conducts the play of the daylight – right from the early hours which penetrates through the cross cutout, as well as creates dark interiors, giving the user space for inner contemplation. There is a balance of solid and void in the design. The monochrome palette, incredible acoustcs (materials- concrete mixed with local volcanic stones), and minimalistic interiors allow for lesser or no distractions within the users.
8. Church of St. Wenceslas, Czech Republic
An unusual cylindrical shape of this church has a minimalistic design on the exterior, having a few playful punctures for light to enter inside the building creating a dramatic play of soft light and shadow in the interior. The form is inspired by the rotundas on the circular Romanesque churches. In contrast to cylindrical volume is a triangular puncture on the roof which breaks the harmony of the cylindrical form. One soft puncture is also dedicated to the church bells placed in a harmonious manner, which flows softly into the interior.
9. Holy Family Shrine, Nebraska
Looking less-like a church, the design is created such that it has open views of the horizon and the vast landscape. This also accounts for all of the natural daylight into the interiors. The earthy shades of the structure with wood as a major material – as arched trusses, makes one connect with the outside surrounding. A narrow stream of water on the pathway leading to the church makes a perfect setting in nature for contemplation and connection with the divine.
View of the Shrine showing a narrow stream of water on the pathway ©www.contemporist.com
10. Bosjes Chapel, South Africa | Modern church designs
The wavy form of the chapel is designed to go with the shape of the surrounding mountains and also with the historic Cape Dutch gables. The chapel appears lightweight, dynamic, and floating in the valley, an effect that is created by a pond in front of the chapel. The white floors and walls, and minimalistic interiors allow for a tranquil environment. The undulating form also considers the rainwater discharge and the thermal movement within the space.