As man progresses and technology develops year by year, generation by generation; the definition of creativity too progresses, and thus progresses architecture. And so, the architecture of the churches – replacing the traditional definition of church space, and contemplation, and the need for an enclosure to connect with the higher power. No visually different from the modern residential and commercial building, man has taken the churches to another level of creativity, that has begun to blend with the surroundings structures, yet creating a dominant form. Here’s a list of a few of the modern churches, which will take your breath away.

1. Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, England

Built in 1967, the design has a tent-like shape, and has flying buttresses attached to the circular central plan which forms a cone while rising upward, and visually continues to form pinnacles reaching the sky. Stained glass windows cover a large area of the cathedral to light the interiors, with seating in a circular pattern.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, England - Sheet2
Flying buttresses and circular stained glass windows. ©Adrian Welch
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Interior space. Stained glass lighting up the space. ©en.wikipedia.org
Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, England - Sheet1
View of the church ©en.wikipedia.org

2. The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, United States

The church was built in 1970 and has been designed taking the inspirations from a geometric principle of a hyperbolic paraboloid. This gives gentle curves to the structure joining gently to form a cross. These edges of the cross give space for a stained glass window, which illuminates the internal space in the shape of the cross.

The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, United States - Sheet1
View of the church ©Liao Yusheng
The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, United States - Sheet2
Gently formed curves on roof wall ©en.wikipedia.org
The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, United States - Sheet3
Interior space. Stained glass window in cross shape. Triangular coffers on the inner part of the roof transfers the weight of the structure to the ground ©www.pinterest.com

3. Santuario Madonna della Lacrime, Italy

The conical-shaped church standing 74 meters high in Sicily, is believed to be in the form of a tear-drop, having ribs. The ribs give rise to cuboids on ground (which also houses individual chapels) along with providing light.

Santuario Madonna della Lacrime, Italy - Sheet1
View of the church ©www.pinterest.com
Santuario Madonna della Lacrime, Italy - Sheet2
Cuboids on the ground level giving rise to ribs ©www.lasiciliainrete.it
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Interior having a diameter of 71.4 meters. Slits in ribs illuminate interiors ©www.santuaritaliani.it/santurio/madonna-delle-lacrime-basilica-santuario/
Santuario Madonna della Lacrime, Italy - Sheet4
Inside the spire showing slits for sunlight ©www.flickr.com

4. Grundtvig’s Church, Denmark

This church is an example of expressionist church architecture built in 1913. The stunning façade is inspired by the stepped gables of the nearby villages and is made entirely of bricks. The church features an amalgamation of various building styles. Unlike other Gothic churches, the interior is minimal, having bricks on columns and vaults. The yellow color of the bricks represents ascension.

Grundtvig's Church, Denmark - Sheet1
View of the west façade (center building) ©Flemming Ibsen
Grundtvig's Church, Denmark - Sheet2
Yellow brick interiors and gothic arches ©Flemming Ibsen

5. North Christian Church, United States

Built in 1964, this church has a metal spire 59 meters high that sits on a hexagonal plan. Inspired by the steps of Angkor Wat, the architect designed steps inside so that the users could interact with space and reach for the higher power.

North Christian Church, United States - Sheet1
View of the church ©Library of congress North Christian Church United States

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Interior space. Natural lighting through the oculus above the central altar. Bare concrete roof. ©en.wikipedia.org

6. Church of light, Japan

Designed by Tadao Ando, the Church of Light has a cross-shaped cut in the wall. There is a play of light and shadow where the wall is in shadow and the cross in illumination. The natural material of the flooring and the pews, wood- that connects man with nature, is softly highlighted by this illumination.

Church of light, Japan - Sheet1
View of the church. ©www.interactiongreen.com
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Cross shape cutout through which interiors are softly illuminated. ©en.wikipedia.org

7. Hallgrímskirkja church, Iceland

The architect of this church was inspired by Iceland’s landscape, the mountains, glaciers, and basalt columns. The central facade resembles the volcanoes, and its sides represent the cooled down lava residue. The church stands tallest in the skyline of Iceland at 74.6 meters.

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View of the church. ©hotelklettur.is
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View of the church. Concrete exterior ©E.J. Peiker
Hallgrímskirkja church, Iceland - Sheet3
Simplistic interiors with gothic style vaults. The white color resembles ice caves ©www.pinterest.com

8. Parish Church of Santa Monica, Spain

A unique style, the design has protrusions for windows and tapering end on the backside, designed to fit inside the plot to occupy a maximum area. The church is clad entirely in pre-rusted steel. Due to its longitudinal plan, the windows project in one direction to allow for maximum diffused sunlight to enter the interior space. The pews, too, are arranged in the direction of these projected windows.

Parish Church of Santa Monica, Spain - Sheet1
View of the church ©www.archdaily.com
Parish Church of Santa Monica, Spain - Sheet2
Tapering end of the church ©www.archdaily.com

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Pews arranged in direction of projected windows (in golden color) ©Pablo Vicens

9. Nova Serrana Chapel, Brazil

The church design has tilted concrete walls on a concave-shaped plan. The walls are bare and kept to the minimum to create a tranquil and distraction-free environment. The concave roof has slits that provide sun rays in sharp angles to light up the interior.

Nova Serrana Chapel, Brazil - Sheet1
View of the chapel ©Daniel Ducci

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Nova Serrana Chapel, Brazil - Sheet3
Concave roof with slits and entrance creating sharp angles of sunlight ©Daniel Ducci

10. Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, Germany

A perfect example of sensual architecture, architect Peter Zumthor has well achieved the balance between haptics – lights and shadows – sound (created intentionally, softly by using materials, as one enters the silent space) – and tranquility. Yet, the exterior stands simple amid the fields and landscape.

Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, Germany - Sheet1
View of the chapel (triangular entrance) ©Samuel Ludwig
Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, Germany - Sheet2
Entrance walls with tree trunks (112 in numbers) for haptic experience ©Samuel Ludwig
Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, Germany - Sheet3
Roof as a source of minimum daylight softly reveals the textures of the tree trunks ©Samuel Ludwig
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Pranjali Karnik
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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