26 Nov Key prayer places for current architecture
The churches are one of the most beautiful and impressive creations of the human being. Building these temples sometimes takes years, even many years. Some of the most imposing churches in the world are the result of enormous sacrifice, sometimes made by more than one generation. Places without a doubt that can leave us with our mouths open and that maybe we have never stopped to recognize their value, dimensions and importance. And it is not necessary to be a fervent devotee to enjoy admiring churches. Throughout history and the different religions, the architecture of the sacred buildings has changed a bit, but here we give you, in our opinion the most impressive and beautiful churches worldwide, at least a small selection.
The Unity Temple
Church is located in Oak Park and is the work of the famous Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed it in 1905. He called it his “treasure” and even today constitutes one of his most significant architectural works. At that time it was a revolutionary construction, with an elegant cubist design. The building is made of cast concrete, which was completely new at the time, and had no resemblance to any other religious building until then. Wright designed everything, including stained glass and furniture. It does not have street level windows for the purpose of eliminating noise. Natural light flows from the stained glass along the walls and ceiling. The spaces are designed to be efficient, but at the same time give a visual appearance of spaciousness. The use of spaces is one of the characteristics that define Wright.
The Unity Temple, the only remaining public building of those that were erected during its Prairie period, was also one of the first houses of worship created with materials traditionally reserved for factories or warehouses; in particular, reinforced concrete. This choice proved to have a great influence on later modern architects and designers.
Parish of Patriarch San Abraham
The construction of the center was commissioned by the architects Josep Benedito and Agustí Mateos. The formal structure has a clear marine inspiration, which is evidenced in the shape of a fish with its tail, as well as the landmark that resembles a mast, but seen from another angle it could also look like an eye. The eye of God perhaps?
The real challenge of creating a contemporary temple, without falling into references of the past, is to evoke spirituality. Benedito and Mateos succeeded in fleeing from the traditional conception of reaching a considerable interior height, in an attempt to represent the heavens.
On the other hand, the absence of right angles and the encounter of two unequal angles that make up an ellipse, where the sacristy is located and where depending on how the light strikes create interesting effects, an allusion perhaps to the universe itself.
Notre Dame 1345
It is undoubtedly a symbol of French Gothic architecture. The cathedral was built between 1163 and 1345 in honor of the Virgin Mary. The building is of Gothic style but various architects participated in its construction, so other styles are appreciated, with a particularly pronounced vertical slope, a uniform architecture and a simplified decoration. The plant forms a west-facing Roman cross, with an accentuated longitudinal axis imperceptible from the outside. His cross is wrapped in a double ambulatory, which runs through the choir at the head and extends parallel to the ship. Gargoyles are mysterious figures that represent a fusion between men, animals or demons. Its practical utility is to evacuate the rainwater that runs through the roofs by throwing it into a vacuum. What prevents it from sliding down the walls and protecting it. As for the needle, it was decorated with copper rooster, which was found in the rubble. Inside were three relics that could not be saved in the fire: the one that is considered one of the 70 thorns of the crown of Christ and two other relics of San Denis and Santa Genoveva. With its large windows and its great height, the spectacular interior of Notre Dame is full of luminosity.
Brasilia Cathedral, Oscar Niemeyer
Brasilia Cathedral is a contemporary architectural work by the architect Oscar Niemeyer in the fifties. It began in 1958 and ended 12 years later. The context of its construction has little to do with the typical cathedral constructions that had to adapt to a restricted or concrete space, Niemeyer had a space that was not delimited by any other construction as it was an architecture located in a newly built city.
The interior of the temple is presented as a diaphanous space of a single nave without any support elements or nested spaces. The exterior also does not present any type of hierarchy or predominant facade, it is only a hyperbolic structure based on sixteen columns that ascend to the sky and support the covering system formed by sixteen fiberglass bales. Thus the structure emerges from the ground as a divine form that ascends to infinity and symbolizes the union of two hands that rise in a prayer to heaven.
The access to the temple is done through a small hall in the form of a dark tunnel that makes the luminosity of the interior space even more striking. The light that becomes the protagonist of the space and in fact, the main idea of Niemeyer himself was to build a temple that matched in beauty and holiness the old cathedral buildings without the need to resort to images of saints or crucified. Light would be the only ornamental element that decorated the sacred space.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
The temple was designed by Antonio Gaudí at the end of the 19th century. It belongs to the so-called modernism. The entire monument is designed from two fundamental axes that moved the architect: Christian discourse and the observation of nature. Therefore, the basilica cannot be understood without attention to these two elements.
Gaudí turns to symbols and allegories of the Bible and relates them structurally, formally and symbolically with nature. And the truth is that, for the architect, nature was the work of God.
Gaudí planned the construction of 18 towers. The highest will represent Jesus Christ, while the others will represent the apostles, the evangelists and the Virgin Mary. The monument will thus reach a maximum height of 172.5 meters.
The organic appearance of the facades and the interior of the temple derives from the observation of the geometry of nature. It is not surprising that the columns resemble irregular tree trunks, branches, snails and many other elements.
When calculating their structures, Gaudí innovated with the empirical and experimental method of suspended chains. By inverting the image, it obtained the best geometry of the project, that is, the inclinations that the columns and walls should have so that they could resist the compression efforts. In addition, this also allowed him to measure the force in each chain or string tensioned by means of dynamometers, which served to provide the diameter of the columns or nerves according to the scale used, as well as the strength of the material.
The angles that the Holy Family creates are defined naturally. As? Gaudí built a model of the church with ropes and weights. He drew the straight lines of the outline of the building on a wooden board and placed it on the roof. Then he hung several ropes from the table where the pillars should be placed. He placed some weights at the ends of the ropes, and joined them together. Thus he managed to create arcs defined by gravity. Once this model was photographed, Gaudí calculated the angles of the columns and arches.