There are a lot of beautiful churches scattered around the world. From the massive stone and brickworks of the Romanesque style to the ornate details of the Gothic, to the quirk and ambitious Modernism, it is undeniable that each era left beautiful architecture over time. Some of these are already popular, while others are not. Regardless, these breathtaking masterpieces are sites to be appreciated. Thanks to the expertise and creativity of their respective architects, the world witnessed valuable architecture. Not only did these amazing churches display magnificent art but reflected in them is the zeitgeist of the place. In this list, let’s take a short recollection of 10 architects who managed to design stunning Churches.
Oscar Niemeyer | Beautiful Churches
Oscar Niemeyer is a Brazilian architect famously known as a Pritzker Laureate – the highest award an architect receives – in the year 1988. He was also dubbed as the king of curves and this is truly evident in his fluid designs. The Cathedral of Brasilia in Brazil is one of his notable works. Taking inspiration from the culture of the country, the structure possesses peculiar shapes signifying two hands reaching to the sky as a symbol of praise. The interior creates a soothing and ethereal atmosphere through the alternating panes of blue and green stained glasses. Today, it is one of the most beautiful churches not just in the country but in the world as well.
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret or famously known as Le Corbusier is a Swiss architect and city planner; he introduced the five points of architecture and influenced architecture with the idea of functionalism in design. He is one of the most promising and looked-up architects in the world specializing in modern architectural style. One of his iconic works is the elegant Ronchamp Chapel in France. Also known as Notre Dame du Haut, this architecture displays Le Corbusier’s use of curvilinear elements.
The building consists of a thick masonry wall which is then played with curves to improve stability and strength. Its monumental curved concrete roof is a striking element and a visual that identifies a signature style. This masterful work of art is a deviation from Le Corbusier’s linear approach. Today, it is one of the most important structures in architecture.
Antoni Gaudí | Beautiful Churches
Antoni Gaudi is a famous modern Spanish architect. He pursued his academic career in Barcelona and eventually paved the way for acquiring different commissions. From here on, Gaudi managed to establish a stellar reputation enabling him to secure more projects and collaborations with previous mentors. He is now known as the father of fantastic architecture, and renowned for his Catalan Modernisme – Art Nouveau – architecture that is dominantly represented with whiplash lines creating a sense of fluidity in the overall design. This is evident in his prestigious work – The Basilica de la Sagrada Familia.
Located in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, this unique creation is an amalgamation of various architectural styles such as late gothic and modernism; its spiraling towers and one-of-a-kind façade became a landmark of the city. Today, the site is considered a UNESCO heritage – a legacy of Gaudi passed on from different generations.
Michaelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni leaves a mark of a genius. He is one of the world’s most talented and creative artists; as a visionary, few of his talents range from spectacular frescoes to extravagant architectural designs. Among 12 others, he is one of the architects of the renowned St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. His main contribution to this project is his intricately designed dome structure which eventually made him the lead designer.
The building has become an important site for Christendom since it is said to be the burial site of St. Peter, the first pope. Michaelangelo has a creative flair for renaissance architecture and constantly incorporates its principles into his design which became his trademark.
Guðjón Samúelsson | Beautiful Churches
Guðjón Samúelsson is one of the prominent architects in Iceland and is the first to be formally educated in architecture. Iceland’s Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavík is one of his notable works. Inspired by basalt columns found in Svartifoss falls, he managed to conceptualize an elegant yet distinct architecture highlighting the place’s unique characteristics. The church’s façade resembles that of the basalt columns towering to a significant height which makes it even more noticeable even from afar. Its stark white exterior walls contribute to its neatness as well. Influencing church designs in Iceland, Guðjón merges the idea of naturalism into modernism creating remarkable buildings.
Filippo Brunelleschi is another well-established personality who contributed to designing an important church. He is a brilliant architect and engineer whose works are associated with the Renaissance style. The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence – a.k.a. Florence Cathedral – is his major work. He mainly contributed to the well-thought design of the dome by applying a special technique called the fishbone pattern of bricks. This enabled the dome to be realized even with a greater span – a problem that had the jury consider Brunelleschi’s design strategy. As a result of this ingenious approach, the cathedral’s cupola is the pride of the city.
Barma and Postnik
Russian architects, Barma and Postnik conceptualized and made possible the realization of St. Basil’s Cathedral – The Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat. The building’s eclectic design composition adds to its uniqueness. With a height of 65 meters, the cathedral’s quirky façade displays details like the scales of a golden fish, the enameled skin of a serpent, the changeful hues of the lizard, the glossy rose and azure of the pigeon’s neck (St Basil’s cathedral, 2022). Though considered an unusual church, this building became a trademark of Russia.
Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc | Beautiful Churches
Most churches deteriorate over time. Because of this, certain architects are tapped to restore a few of these historical sites – one of them is Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc. He is a French architect known for his restoration works of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. To name some of his notable projects, the Basilique Sainte Marie-Madeleine is one of the masterpieces of Burgundian Romanesque art and architecture, with distinct arch designs, and intricately detailed sculptures evident in the building. Another example of his masterful skill is the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris; its gothic elements and rose windows create an elegantly mysterious façade which makes it more dramatic and appealing. He is also a theorist and a writer.
Nicolas de Bonaventure
Nicolas de Bonaventure was appointed chief architect of Duomo Milan Cathedral. He influenced the building’s strong gothic design. The cathedral’s façade and including its pinnacles are covered in pink, white marble. The structure’s interior reflects playful natural lighting intent through the colorful stained-glass windows. Less is known about its original designer but Nicolas, among a few others, mainly contributed to its finality. It is a unique architectural work that converges international gothic style with traditional Lombard principles – resulting in stellar architecture.
Leandro Locsin | Beautiful Churches
Leandro Locsin is one of the six national artists in architecture in the Philippines. He is known for his brutalism and religious tropical architecture designs. Some of his reputable works are The Monastery of the Transfiguration in Malaybalay, Bukidnon Southern Philippines, and St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Makati City, Northern Philippines. These masterpieces are inspired by cultural influences and integrated with tropical principles.
Locsin as a poet, writer, painter, and artist does well in using symbolisms in his design and translating them into spaces that create unique experiences among its end-users. Because of his determination, he is the first Filipino architect to have made an international reputation, particularly in Southeast Asia.
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