Architect Norman L. Koonce has suggested that the goal of sacred architecture is to make "transparent the boundary between matter and mind, flesh and the spirit."
Sacredness can be found in anything. A school can be someone's sacred space and no one could argue with that. It is a feeling of safeness and calmness that attaches someone to that specific place. These feelings can be triggered by the architecture which is what I am interested in looking into. It is almost as if people are connected to certain buildings because of how they feel inside the space or even just looking at it. There is a certain beauty to it.
"Two general categories are defined: 'contained movement', where it is not the architecture that is thought of as moving, but the eye, mind, imagined body or forces; and 'represented movement', where there is an implication or illusion that the architecture is in motion." (Adam Hardy)
I think that this is a very interesting definition for what movement in architecture is because it focuses on the viewer; the viewer is in the illusion that the building or form is moving whilst the building is still. I think that there are many aspects that can give a structure this quality such as the used materials, the way that the light falls on the structure throughout different times of the day or maybe just the way that it is built is so intricate that it looks like its moving when in fact it stays in one place.
Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain
Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles
Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris
The reason why I liked these buildings is that the basis for the forms are very simple. They are elementary shapes that when put together form this complex structure that strikes us and seems to be moving because of the fluidity of the design.
Church architecture refers to the architecture of buildings of Christian churches. It has evolved over the two thousand years of the Christian religion, partly by innovation and partly by imitating other architectural styles as well as responding to changing beliefs, practices and local traditions.
There are several parts in the architecture of a church. Not all churches will have all these parts:
- The nave is the main part of the church where the congregation (the people who come to worship) sit.
- The aisles are the sides of the church which may run along the side of the nave.
- The transept, if there is one, is an area which crosses the nave near the top of the church. This makes the church shaped like a cross, which is a symbol of Jesus's death on a cross.
- The chancel leads up to the altar at the top of the church. The altar is in the sanctuary. The word “sanctuary” means “sacred place”. People were not allowed to be arrested in the sanctuary, so they were safe. The altar is usually at the east end of the church. People in the church sit facing the altar. We say that the church “faces east”.
- Churches will also have a tower or steeple, usually at the west end. If the church has a transept the tower may be above the centre of the transept.
Chartres Cathedral Chartres, France
The beautiful building in which the Christ Church in Plano, Texas worships is a wonderful example of this theologically-driven architecture.
Martin Luther Kirche, Hainburg, Austria
Design: COOP HIMMELB(L)AU
Knarvik church, Lindås, Norway
This church building design holds an important position as a cultural provider and a communicator for the Christian message and community, on holidays and during every day. The church will be central for a safe childhood environment and at the same time be a platform for cultural development, arts and music in the community. The church building is placed carefully in the terrain and has dimensions that respect and blend harmoniously into the landscape’s vegetation, topography and that stress the space qualities.
Holy Rosary Church, Louisiana, USA
Design: Trahan Architects
Cardedeu El Salvador by EMC Arquitectura
"Cardedeu" is a place for events that aims to maximize the chances of an open space in such a privileged place with spectacular views. We complement it with a chapel, a restaurant, a hotel and various support spaces.
Chapel in Valleaceron by Sancho-Madridejos Architecture Office
The Akal Takht (Punjabi: ਅਕਾਲ ਤਖ਼ਤ), meaning throne of the timeless one, is one of five takhts (seats of power) of the Sikhs . It is located in the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) complex in Amritsar, Punjab. The Akal Takht was built by Guru Hargobind as a place of justice and consideration of temporal issues; the highest seat of earthly authority of the Khalsa (the collective body of the Sikhs) and the place of the Jathedar, the highest spokesman of the Sikhs. The current Jathedar of Akal Takht is Jathedar Jagtar Singh Hawara.
Gurdwara Baba Atal is a famous Gurdwara of Amritsar. Many of the millions of pilgrims that visit the Harimandir Sahib every year do not realise that one of Amritsar’s finest architectural marvels and one of the Sikh religions most poignant places of worship is just a short walk from the famous Harimandir Sahib
Gurdwara Sri Tarn Taran Sahib is a gurdwara established by the fifth guru, Guru Arjan Dev, in the city of Tarn Taran Sahib, Punjab, India. The site has the distinction of having the largest sarovar (water pond) of all the gurdwaras. It is famous for the monthly gathering of pilgrims on the day of Amavas (a no-moon night). It is near Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar.
Sri Harmandir Sahib ("The abode of God"), also known as Darbar Sahib, (Punjabi pronunciation: [dəɾbɑɾ sɑhɪb]),  informally referred to as the Golden Temple, is a Gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It is one of the most revered spiritual sites of Sikhism.
Amritsar (literally, the tank of nectar of immortality) was founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das. The fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan, designed Harmandir Sahib to be built in the center of this tank, and upon its construction, installed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, inside Harmandir Sahib.The Harmandir Sahib complex is also home to the Akal Takht (the throne of the timeless one, constituted by the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind). While the Harmandir Sahib is regarded as the abode of God's spiritual attribute, the Akal Takht is the seat of God's temporal authority.
Multi Faith / Secular
New Ghana National Cathedral in Accra
The design is envisioned as a “physical embodiment of unity, harmony and spirituality” where people of all faiths will be welcome to gather and practice their faith. The reason why I liked this project is because the idea of it serving multiple faiths is really similar to my idea in my project and I thought it would be beneficial for me to look at similar ideological projects in order to understand whether it is better to make a secular place or a multi faith place. As we cannot see the inside and whether or not there are separate parts for different religions and beliefs it is hard for me to say that I will make a structure resembling this one. However, the design and the fluidity in the design really interested me as the roof is the part that makes it interesting because the base of the building is quite simple. I think that this is a very good example of a multi faith religious space.
In a time of what seems to be ever-increasing religious and political conflict, Bartlett students Akarachai Padlom, Eleftherios Sergios, and Nasser Alamadi instead chose to focus on collaboration between religions in their thesis project entitled “Faith Estates,” which outlines a new method of mass religious tourism. In an area around the Dead Sea characterized by disputed boundaries and conflicting ownership claims, the group aims to reimagine the relationship between the world’s three monotheistic religions, but also to rethink the relationship between religion, tourism, and the landscape. The design consists of large-scale excavation sites which form tourist resorts along a pilgrimage route with the goal of forming a mutually beneficial relationship.
The robes worn by Buddhist monks are said to date back to the Buddha's time. There are commonly three components to the robe: an inner garment or waistcloth, an upper robe, and an outer robe. Buddhist nuns typically wear a vest and a bathing cloth.
Kippah. A kippah or yarmulke (also called a kappel or "skull cap") is a thin, slightly-rounded skullcap traditionally worn at all times by OrthodoxJewish men, and sometimes by both men and women in Conservative and Reform communities. Its use is associated with demonstrating respect and reverence for God.
Among the Sikhs, the dastaar is an article of faith that represents honour, self-respect, courage, spirituality, and piety. The Khalsa Sikh men and women, who keep the Five Ks, wear the turban partly to cover their long, uncut hair (kesh).
Islam says that the believing women should lower their gaze, guard their modesty, not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, Foster brother, and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. 'And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards God, that ye may attain Bliss.'|Sura 24 (An-Nur), ayat 30-31|Qur'an}}. Some of them apply only to face-covering clothing such as the burqa, chador, boushiya, or niqab; some apply to any clothing with an Islamic religious symbolism such as the khimar, a type of headscarf.
Christian worship involves praising God in music and speech, readings from scripture, prayers of various sorts, a sermon, and various holy ceremonies (often called sacraments) such as the Eucharist. ... The phrase 'Sunday best' was coined to describe clothes worn by Christians to church.
Hindu men frequently wear short coats (angarkhā), and the women wear a long scarf, or robe (sārī), whereas typical Muslim attire for men and women is a long white cotton shirt (kurtah) and trousers (pāʾijamah). ... A teacher (swāmī) traditionally wears a yellow robe (see also Hinduism; Sikhism; Zoroastrianism).
TED Talk on How to Build a Sacred Space
When thinking about light there are some aspects of it that interest me in particular. These aspects can be summed up by; obscurity, natural light, partial illumination and harsh contrasts. Here are some architects that work with light in a way that emphasises and compliments the architectural features of the building;
"Her projects are remarkable not only for her innovative way of handling tangible materials but also for her imagination regarding the medium of light. Her theories of fragmentation and fluidity are now well-known design techniques which enabled her form-finding. However, her advances in using light to render her architecture have often been neglected—even though they became an essential element in revealing and interpreting her architecture. " (Archdaily).
Particularly in these images the way that Zaha Hadid uses natural and artificial light in contrast with each other interests me and makes me think about the combination of both when doing my own project. I think that in the fisrt image the natural light really compliments the architecture in a way that makes the surroundings blend together which is something that is very important when thinking about the well-being of people that go in it.
Guangzhou Opera House, 2010, Guangzhou / China. Image © Iwan Baan
Guangzhou Opera House, 2010, Guangzhou / China. Image © Iwan Baan / Courtesy of Perry Rubenstein Gallery
Hoenheim-Nord Terminus, 2002, Strasbourg / France. Image © Frank Dinger
I think that the works of Donald Judd really reflect on how light is used in various settings rather than just focusing on one single aspect such as natural light or artificial light. This particular work of his transforms a military history into a peaceful and unique environment with the use of specific material combined with the usage of light in the design of the building itself.
I think that in this particular design the thing that strikes me the most is the simplicity and the effect that it gives to the viewer. The usage of natural light surrounding the room and the boxes interacting with light in such a way that they become a part of the architecture.
"Completed in 1986, Donald Judd's 100 aluminum boxes offer one of the most exciting locations to study the grace of minimalism. " (Archdaily)
Similarities in Religions
Sikhism - Hinduism
Like Hinduism Sikhims believes in the transmigration of the soul. There are countless cycles of births and deaths. One only breaks this cycle when they achieve mukhti (merger with God)
Karma regulates the reincarnation and transmigration of the soul, Sikhism links Karma with the doctrine of Grace.
"Mortals obtain a human body as a result of good deeds but he reaches the gate ofsalvation with God's kind grace." (Guru Nanak, Japji)
The world is just an illusion and some get enchanted with this illusion and forget God
Sikhism - Islam
Fatherhood of God
Gurus believed that not only is God our Father, but He is Mother, Brother, Husband and Friend.
"Thou art my father, Thou art my mother, Thou art my kinsman and Thou art my brother. In all the places Thou art my protector. Then why should I feel fear and anxiety?" (Guru Arjan, Majh, pg. 103)
Bismillah of the Quran and the Mul Mantra of the Guru Granth Sahib are both dedicated to One Merciful God and are placed at the beginning of every new chapter. In both the nature of God transcends all concepts of time.
"God is one. His name is True. He is the Creator. His is without fear. He is inimical to none. His existence is unlimited by time. He is beyond the cycles of birth and death, self existent and can be realized through the grace of the Guru." (Guru Nanak)
Emphasis on the Will of God in Quran is similar to the idea of Hukam in Guru Granth Sahib.
"Everyone is under the Hukam of the Lord; there is none outside it." (Guru Nanak, Japji)
Theory of creation of the world by the mere will of God.
"The night and day, the Lord created, for the world to do the deeds. Through the Guru's instruction, the mind is illuminated and the darkness is dispelled. In His will, He creates all and pervades all the woods and grass blades." (Guru Amar Das, pg. 948)
Encouragement of alms for the needy and poor
Condemnation of idol worship.
Condemnation of asceticism.
Sikhism- Judaism - Christianity
Submission to the will of God, Hukam.
Khalsa brotherhood and sacrament.
Brotherhood of man.
Fatherhood of God and salvation by grace.
Jewish emphasis on 'The Name'.
Sikhism - Buddhism
Buddha tried to abolish the caste system and believed in the idea of brotherhood.
Complete disregard for forms and rituals and emphasis on purity of the heart and sincerity in our dealings with others.
Buddha preached in the spoken language of the people and did not believe in the sanctity of any one language.
steyn studio's bosjes chapel
Just by looking at this structure and by looking at its surroundings it is possible to say that it looks as if it is a part of the nature surrounding it. This is partially caused by the shape of the structure itself. The usage of water and nature gives it a sense of purity which cannot be unseen. I would like to implement the idea of using natural and organic shapes into my design.
Location: Graz, Austria
Architect: Sir Peter Cook and Colin Fournier
The term organic architecture is usually used to mean buildings whose shape or function mimics nature. In this case I really liked the idea that the building was made to resemble the idea of aliens. It is a very unusual idea but the form of the building really makes us think that it is alienated. In both form and material, the building is designed to strike a dramatic contrast with the surrounding baroque roofs of its 'host city' with its red clay roofing tiles; however, it also integrates the façade of an 1847 iron house. The way that this building reflects this idea is how i would like my structure to reflect the idea that it is actually a religious space but it's also a place where people can find peace within themselves and within the busy city life that surrounds them on a daily basis.
The Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé
Location: Paris, France
Architect: Renzo Piano
This project really interested me because I have never seen such a weird shaped building that could look so beautiful at the same time. it is particularly interesting how the architect placed this statue-like structure in the middle of Paris where every building is in the same style.
" the slug shaped new building rises up cheekily above the traditional 19th-century neoclassical facade which contains its entrance so that it can be seen (but only just), from the street, before sloping down into the former courtyard space behind."
Buddhist religious architecture developed in the Indian subcontinent. Three types of structures are associated with the religious architecture of early Buddhism: monasteries (viharas), places to venerate relics (stupas), and shrines or prayer halls (chaityas, also called chaitya grihas), which later came to be called temples in some places.
Legend holds that Shwedagon Pagoda was built over 2,500 years ago by two brothers named Taphussa and Bhallika who were from what is current-day Afghanistan. They are reported to have met the Gautama Buddha, and with relics from the Buddha as well as guidance from other spiritual beings, the two brothers were able to locate the relics of the previous Buddhas. This place of discovery served as the location of Shwedagon Pagoda. Historians and archaeologists hold, contrary to the legendary account, for a more recent dating of construction the Shrine sometime during the 6th century. Regardless of when it was built, the Shwedagon Pagoda is a very sacred place for Theravada Buddhism. Built upon a hill overlooking the surrounding city, the Shwedagon Pagoda’s 368 foot high golden spire lights up the landscape, drawing the onlooker’s eye. The interior design and art is reflective of both Buddhist and Hindu beliefs. As a monument to both Buddhism and Burmese culture, Shwedagon Pagoda is an impressive example of religious architecture.
To protect against earthquake, its foundation is 16 feet thick at its base. Universally regarded as a masterpiece of Tibetan religious architecture and art.
Tadao Ando Envelops Giant Buddha Statue in Lavender-Planted Hill Temple
The reason why I chose to put this in my research is because I loved how simple the idea was. The circular form of the exterior and the most important thing right in the middle of the structure, really showcases the importance of it.
archstudio embeds buddhist shrine within the riparian landscape of hebei, china
the ‘branches’ represent five spaces of different functions — the entrance, the buddhist meditation room, the tea room, the living room, and the bathroom — that ultimately create fluid spatial sequence. the entrance faces two trees, under which people need to walk into the building through a narrow path. meanwhile, the shrine is against the wall and facing the water, where light and shadow get through the skylight and flow into the interior space along the curved wall, exaggerating the light of buddha. meanwhile, the tea room opens completely to the pool which is filled with lotus and trees on both sides. finally, the lounge is separated from other spaces by a bamboo courtyard.
love architecture rejuvenates buddhist ryusenji temple in japan
A Hindu temple is a symbolic house, seat and body of god. It is a structure designed to bring human beings and gods together, using symbolism to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism. The symbolism and structure of a Hindu temple are rooted in Vedic traditions, deploying circles and squares. A temple incorporates all elements of Hindu cosmos—presenting the good, the evil and the human, as well as the elements of Hindu sense of cyclic time and the essence of life—symbolically presenting dharma, kama, artha, moksa, and karma.
Most Hindus have a small shrine in their home where they can worship daily. This worship is called 'Puja'. The shrine will contain at least one image, called a 'murti', of their gods, for example, Lord Ganesh or Lord Krishna. These images help theHindu to focus on different aspects of God.
Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Emotions as mentioned before play a very significant role in architecture. The love and sense of attraction to the place you call home... It is undoubtedly one of the strongest feelings, love, towards a place. OR these feelings can be the feeling of calmness and feeling safe. Architecture has a way of communicating with people through their emotions. If you address a problem and do it in such a way, even the most hostile place could become the safest place on earth.
When designing a space it is very important to consider people's emotions and how they might feel when they go in it. In this project I am looking to make a space where people will feel safe.
There is also correlation between certain colours and how we feel in a space surrounded by them.
Color may also influence a person’s mental or physical state.
Color Psychology: The Color White
- sense of space
- mourning (in some cultures/societies)
Color Psychology: The Color Black
- thinning / slimming
- death or mourning
Color Psychology: The Color Gray
Color Psychology: The Color Red
Color Psychology: The Color Orange
- wealth prosperity
Color Psychology: The Color Yellow
Color Psychology: The Color Green
Color Psychology: The Color Blue
Color Psychology: The Color Purple
Color Psychology: The Color Brown
- mourning (in some cultures/societies)
Color Psychology: The Color Pink
In this project I will be focusing on six religions in particular;
"When architectural forms become the vehicles of content—in plan, elevation, and decoration—they are symbolic. Their symbolism can be understood consciously or unconsciously, by association (e.g., spire = church) to a building one has seen before and by the fact that it suggests certain universal experiences (e.g., vertical forms “rise”; low roofs “envelop”). One comprehends the meaning of symbols that are new, as well as those that are known, by association, because the laws of statics restrain builders from putting them into forms so completely unfamiliar that they do not suggest some tradition, just as the structure of language permits endless new meanings but retains a fairly constant vocabulary. The meaning of architectural symbols—or of words—may even change, but the process must be both logical and gradual, for, if the change is irrational, the purpose—communication—is lost."
“Man and his extensions constitute one interrelated system”
(Hall E.T., 1969, p. 177)
Privacy is defined as the quality or state of being apart from company or observation. As an act, privacy provides freedom from unauthorized intrusion. A second definition states that privacy denotes a place of seclusion (Britannica Encyclopaedia, 2006).
Irwin Altman and Westin suggest that one of its major functions is to serve the individual’s self-identity by creating personal boundaries (Altman, 1975, Westin, 1970).
According to Westin “Privacy is the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent information about them is communicated to others. Viewed in terms of the relation of the individual to social participation, privacy is the voluntary and temporary withdrawal of a person from the general society through physical or psychological means, either in a state of solitude or small-group intimacy or, when among larger groups, in a condition of anonymity or reserve. The individual’s desire for privacy is never absolute, since participation in society is an equally powerful desire. Thus each individual is continually engaged in a personal adjustment process in which he balances the desire for privacy with the desire for disclosure and communication of himself to others, in light of the environmental conditions and social norms set by the society in which he lives. (Westin, 1967 p. 7)
BAK Arquitectos Builds the Casa Mar Azul in a Forested Setting
DIALOG designed the Southlands Residence
One of the most visible aspects of mosque architecture is the minaret, a tower adjacent or attached to a mosque, from which the call to prayer is announced.
Most mosques also feature one or more domes, called qubba in Arabic. While not a ritual requirement like the mihrab, a dome does possess significance within the mosque—as a symbolic representation of the vault of heaven. The interior decoration of a dome often emphasizes this symbolism, using intricate geometric, stellate, or vegetal motifs to create breathtaking patterns meant to awe and inspire. Some mosque types incorporate multiple domes into their architecture (as in the Ottoman Süleymaniye Mosque), while others only feature one. In mosques with only a single dome, it is invariably found surmounting the qibla wall, the holiest section of the mosque.
Most historical mosques are not stand-alone buildings. Many incorporated charitable institutions like soup kitchens, hospitals, and schools. Some mosque patrons also chose to include their own mausoleum as part of their mosque complex. The endowment of charitable institutions is an important aspect of Islamic culture, due in part to the third pillar of Islam, which calls for Muslims to donate a portion of their income to the poor.
The commissioning of a mosque would be seen as a pious act on the part of a ruler or other wealthy patron, and the names of patrons are usually included in the calligraphic decoration of mosques. Such inscriptions also often praise the piety and generosity of the patron.
TBMM Mosque Ankara
the unconventional design of this mosque caught my eye because the minaret was replaced as a tree.
The interior of Hagia Sophia
The Blue Mosque
The Inside of Hagia Sophia
Pictures I took of Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque
Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies by Mangera Yvars Architects
Cologne Central Mosque
There is no set blueprint for synagogues and the architectural shapes and interior designs of synagogues vary greatly. This is the reason why synagogues tend to be very different depending on where and by whom they were built.
The Eldridge Street Synagogue was built in 1887. It stands as a historic landmark in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Eastern-European Jews led the undertaking for its construction. In this way, it is one of the first of its kind in the United States. Peter and Francis William Herter were the architects behind its design.
Beth Sholom Congregation by Frank Lloyd Wright
The reason why I like this synagogue is because it doesn't showcase any of the patterns that can be seen in the above synagogues. It has a very modern style where it almost looks like a buddhist temple because of its roof. It also resembles a pyramid because of its shape. The materials that were used for the roof ad for th body of the structure are very different materials which also catches the eye and makes one think about what it would look like if it was just one material. I think that by using this material for the roof the architect has made a significant difference in the way that it is experienced from the inside as it is almost like its transparent enough to see the sky but opaque enough to keep enough light inside. In my project I would like to use the kind of material because I think it would really suit the idea of being interconnected with nature.
Subotica Synagogue is designed in Hungarian Art Nouveau style. It was constructed when Serbia was still part of Austria-Hungary, hence this uncanny cultural influence in the synagogue’s aesthetic. Because of its history it s considered to be a very important synagogue and is protected by the government.
Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center by Mario Botta
What makes this synagogue appealing to me is the fact that it looks very closed and protected but the inside has a sensuous and intimate feel to it. It gives you a certain feeling of safeness. The light coming in on that angle also gives it a very interesting look as it is very harsh and not spread out.
Ohel Jakob synagogue, Munich