Construction of a Place of Worship has been a very important part of our society for a very long time. A temple or a Church is a place where everyone goes to, to find peace, to gain spiritual insight. Be it a happy time or a sad time or a troublesome time, the house of God is always a good answer. The design of a place with such high value to a human soul is thus a very important task for Architects. It is an intricate practice that deals with a person’s body, mind, and soul and links it with the Holy Spirit. The design and construction of Religious buildings have undergone a major shift in the past few decades but the core remains the same, spiritual salvation.
Here are some Architects that are breaking all bounds and excelling in the field of designing Religious Buildings:
1. Tadao Ando, Japan
Tadao Ando is a Japanese, self-taught Architect who needs no introduction. He won the Pritzker Prize for excellence in Architecture in 1995. Being brought up in Japan, Ando’s architecture style has always been greatly influenced by Religion and culture. He believes that focusing on nothingness can lead to discovering great beauty in a space. Most of his complex spatial structures are aesthetically simple. He uses clean lines and blank facades with stunning focal points, thus enhancing the grandeur of the space. According to him, all religious spaces are not different from each other and have the same core value, to provide a place of spiritual salvation. He feels that the essence of its design is the same at the end of the day, be it a Christian church or a Japanese Church.
Hill of the Buddha (Japan)
Church of the Light (Japan)
Church on the Water (Japan)
Meditation Space outside UNESCO Headquarters (Paris)
2. Hariri Potarini Architects, Toronto
Hariri Potarini Architects is a Toronto based firm founded by Saimak Hariri and David Pontarini in 1994. Since then they have pursued their shared aim to create spaces that exhibit design quality. With over 25 years of experience, they have created some groundbreaking architecture designs, in the field of Religious Architecture. Some of their best works include the Baha’ I Temple, Chile, also known as the Temple of Light. It is a dome-shaped structure, beautifully positioned between a tranquil landscape design. The leaf-like walls transfer light from the exterior glass to an interior of translucent Portuguese marble, creating a peaceful atmosphere of spiritual contemplation, meanwhile mesmerizing the audience with its stunning architecture.
Baha’I Temple (Chile)
Beth Tzedec Synagogue (Toronto)
3. Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP, Japan
Established in 2002 in Japan by a talented architect, Hiroshi Nakamura, this firm has backed many awards and recognitions for their creative thinking regarding cultural spaces. They have presented a unique concept in their constructions, wherein the focus is on the meaning the place holds in terms of culture and religion. The Ribbon Chapel in Japan is a wedding chapel located in the middle of a resort hotel. The design of the building has two intertwined spiral staircases which support each other and create this free-standing building, which reflects the way marriage is a unification of two bodies as one. The Sayama Forest Chapel in Saitama has a similarly interesting story behind the design concept. He wanted the design to showcase the protective nature of a deity for all religions through a carefully selected setting in the middle of a forest, sheltered by the shackles of a stressful life.
The Ribbon Chapel (Japan)
The Sayama Forest Chapel (Japan)
Sayama Lakeside Cemetery Community Hall (Japan)
4. EAA, Turkey
EAA is operating from Istanbul, London, and New York, adapting their design abilities to different geographies and cultures. Founded in 2004, by Emre Arolat and Gonca Paşolar, initially in Istanbul in a small office, EAA soon went on to become one of the largest architectural offices in Turkey. They have mastered all scales and types of designs including numerous Religious Buildings.
EAA has proven time and again that they have a unique ability to blend their architectural design as per the cultural, religious, and geographical language of a place. Their latest breakthrough project, the Sancaklar Mosque, was selected for the Mies van der Rohe award, owing to the fresh concept wherein the architectural mass of the space was curbed and the whole focus was on the essence of the religious space, free from all burdens.
The Sancaklar Mosque (Turkey)
Nora Mosque and Community center (UAE)
Mau Religious Complex (Turkey).
5. Gensler, U.S.A.
Gensler is an architecture and design firm operating in 16 diverse locations throughout the World. They have a vast practice and a broad area of expertise when it comes to Architecture. Founded by Art Gensler in 1965, Gensler has gained more than 50 years of experience in the field and is now one of the biggest Firms in the world in the field of Religious Architecture. They believe that Architecture is a means to find a sacred connection through the surrounding environment and understand the importance of creating meaningful gathering spaces in the face of religion across diverse practices.
Pavilion Notre-Dame (France)
Jewish Colorado (Colorado)
Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago
Gratz Center (Illinois)
6. Sameep Padora, India
sP+a is a well-known architecture and design firm in India, known for the aesthetic and ecological aspects of their designs. As designers, they understand the vast socio-cultural extents of India and make sure that their designs reflect the cultural philosophy of their setting. One of their most noteworthy works is the Temple of steps in the small district of Nandyal in India. The design is done to be functionally supportive of the surrounding farms’ irrigation problem. Strategically planned design helps in recharging the groundwater by mirroring a typical ‘ghat’ (a flight of steps leading to a water body).
The Temple of Steps (India)
A spiritual & skill development center for the native Dalit Baudh Ambedkar Buddhist community
Shiv Temple in Wadeshwar (India)
7. Atelier KOMA, South Korea
KOMA (Korea Office of Modern Architecture) works on the spirit of blending Modern Architecture with traditional values. They aim to create spaces that appear contemporary on the outside whilst maintaining the essence of the religion and culture of the Republic of Korea. They have been praised for multiple Religious establishments throughout Korea, for their artistic design development and well-balanced architecture. Most of his Churches are planned to keep in mind the other activities that take place in a religious area such as an outdoor sitting area, a small educational block, and ample circulation space throughout the facility.
Saemoonan Church (South Korea)
The Holy Light Church (South Korea)
Punggi Eastern Church (South Korea)
Erum Church (South Korea)
8. GFF Architects, Texas
GFF is a multi-disciplinary design firm operating in Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin. They are a team of passionate Architects and Designers with an aim to create memorable spaces. Their dynamic thinking and creative designs have helped them score more than 100 awards in the field of Architecture and specifically Religious Designs. They design spiritually, environmentally and community driven designs that stand out through the test of time. Their designs are not formula driven and comprehend the need of providing solutions as per the unique requirements of their clients.
Northridge Presbyterian Church (Texas)
St. Andrew United Methodist Church (Texas)
The First United Methodist Church of Richardson (Texas)
9. Bunker Arquitectura, Mexico
Founded by Esteban Suarez in 2005, Bunker Arquitectura is a Mexico based Architecture firm, known for experimenting with norms of the society on multiple scales. They have designed numerous chapels in Mexico and have been widely appreciated for their creative thinking. They tend to provide out of the box solutions to basic architecture problems with an artistic flair. The Sunset Chapel and Ecumenical Chapel in Mexico have been a topic of appreciation amongst people for the creative design, despite the small scale. Both these projects showcase their innate talent to build non-conventional designs that stand out whilst maintaining the goodness of a place of worship.
The Sunset Chapel (Mexico)
The Ecumenical Chapel (Mexico)
10. LS3P, U.S.A.
LS3P is an Architecture Firm that started in 1963 by Ar. Frank Lucas in a single room office in South Carolina. Today, LS3P is one of the biggest Architecture Firms in Southeast USA. They have a commitment to the Southeast, where they create designs that enrich the community through design excellence, expertise, and innovation. Their Faith team has completed multiple places of Worship all around Southeast USA. They design these spaces with a motive to design spaces that inspire and support people to learn, serve, and worship as one.
Walhalla Presbyterian Church (South Carolina)
The Summit Church (North Carolina)
The Pitt County Memorial Hospital Chapel (South Carolina)