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 new-age churches.

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1. The Cathedral of Maringa, Brazil

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.

The Cathedral of Maringa, Brazil - Sheet1
View of the Cathedral ©www.pinterest.com
The Cathedral of Maringa, Brazil - Sheet2
Inner cone 84 meters high ©tallbuildings.ru
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Stain glass windows at night ©www.pinterest.com

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.

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Metropolitan Cathedral of San Sebastian, Brazil - Sheet1
View of the Cathedral ©en.wikipedia.org
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Cross form on the roof illuminated by daylight ©www.thevintagenews.com
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Stained glass in four directions ©en.wikipedia.org

3. First Presbyterian Church, Connecticut

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’.

First Presbyterian Church, Connecticut Sheet1
View of the Church and ‘scales’ ©www.onlyinyourstate.com
First Presbyterian Church, Connecticut Sheet2
Patterned stained glass windows as walls ©www.onlyinyourstate.com
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Plan depicting a fish ©www.onlyinyourstate.com

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.

Temppeliaukio church, Finland - Sheet1
View of the Church ©www.pinterest.com
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Area of the crucifix receives maximum daylight ©www.researchgate.net
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Copper plated dome and concrete bars with glass in between them ©hiddenarchitecture.net
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concrete bars joined to the rock wall ©hiddenarchitecture.net

5. San Josemaría Escrivá Church, Mexico

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.

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San Josemaría Escrivá Church, Mexico - Sheet1
View of the Cathedral ©www.trendhunter.com
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View of the Cathedral ©en.wikiarquitectura.com

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.

Arctic Cathedral or Tromsdalen Church, Tromsø - Sheet1
View of the Cathedral with stained glass ©www.pinterest.com
Arctic Cathedral or Tromsdalen Church, Tromsø - Sheet2
View of the Cathedral ©www.tripadvisor.in
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View showing cross at entrance ©www.atlasobscura.com

7. The Holy Redeemer Church, Spain

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 acoustics (materials- concrete mixed with local volcanic stones), and minimalistic interiors allow for lesser or no distractions within the users.

The Holy Redeemer Church, Spain - Sheet1
View of the Cathedral ©www.dezeen.com
The Holy Redeemer Church, Spain - Sheet2
Cross form cutout and slits in between volumes allowing for daylight to enter in ©www.archdaily.com
The Holy Redeemer Church, Spain - Sheet3
Monochromatic interiors and daylight through slits ©menis.es

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.

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Church of St. Wenceslas, Czech Republic - Sheet1
View of the Church showing soft punctures ©www.yatzer.com
Church of St. Wenceslas, Czech Republic - Sheet2
Harmoniously arranged church bells ©www.yatzer.com
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Triangle puncture on roof ©www.archdaily.com

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.
Holy Family Shrine, Nebraska - Sheet1

View of the Shrine showing a narrow stream of water on the pathway ©www.contemporist.com

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View of surrounding through glass windows ©www.contemporist.com
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Side view of arched truss and lighting effect during the dark. ©www.contemporist.com
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Visitor center outside shrine ©www.contemporist.com

10. Bosjes Chapel, South Africa

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.

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Bosjes Chapel, South Africa - Sheet1
View of the Chapel giving floating appearance ©www.designboom.com
Bosjes Chapel, South Africa - Sheet2
Form like the mountains achieved by using concrete ©www.arch2o.com
Bosjes Chapel, South Africa - Sheet3
White surfaces allow for tranquility and glass walls allowing for exterior landscape views ©www.arch2o.com
Author

Pranjali is a passionate artist and an architect who loves to blend her designs with nature. She designs meticulously and is always exploring the impact of architectural spaces on user's mind and body. You will find her lost in travelling, daydreams, books, and also on mountain trails.

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