Best Of: Churches, Chapels and Cathedrals

Godly Architecture

Inspired by the power of architecture? After we featured a cathedral in Norway that reflects the Northern Lights, we decided to take a look at nine other churches, chapels, and cathedrals (plus a couple installations inside them) on Frameweb.

From the elaborate to the understated, the traditional to the surreal, here are 10 religious buildings that will leave you feeling, well, a little more spiritual.  

1. Luminarie De Cagna by Cagna Illuminations @ Festival of Lights Ghent
The prime project was a massive light cathedral, the Luminarie De Cagna, which stretched 28m high. Using techniques like projection mapping, the lighting created the appearance of a multi-colored, flowery ceiling reminiscent of historic stained-glass windows.
The design was created by Cagna Illuminations, an Italian family-run business that began illuminating buildings and squares with oil lamps in the 1930s.

2. God's Loft by LKSVDD Architects
The home was designed around the restoration of the church itself, built in 1929, and retains the traditional façade. Inside, the architects stuck to the motto ‘strip, isolate, furnish.’
The result is a minimalist, open space with only small structural changes – a mezzanine for bed and bath, and a red ‘staircase to have fun,’ that doubles as a kitchen, closet, and playground.

3. Caten . by David Letellier
The project’s setting encourages its evanescence - it’s located inside the Saint Sauveur Chapel in Caen, France. As the installation slowly rotates, the wires’ curves reflect the shapes of the surrounding arches. While turning, engines emit one of the first four notes of a musical scale, playing a sequence of intervals. Together, the sounds remind of classic church hymns from the 11th century.

4. Cathedral of the Northern Lights by Schmidt/Hammer/Lassen
The building, which features a belfry reaching to 47-m about the snow-covered ground, was designed by Danish super-firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen. The firm won the project in 2001, following a competition held by the town of Alta to find a design that would interact with their famed views of the Northern Lights.

5. Cerro del Obispo Lookout Point by Christ & Gantenbein
‘The fascinating thing about this project for us is its almost archaic character: an architectural object that has the only purpose to mark a special spot in the landscape and to give people a different, a new view on their surroundings – a noble and challenging task,’ says architect Emanual Christ. ‘It is a powerful place for the individual experience as well as a collective centre of a spirited society.’

6. Chapel by Gensler
Located in a windowless basement room on Biola University in La Mirada, Herjeczki designed the ceiling as the central feature, undulating towards a single skylight. The wood is assembled from randomly stacked pieces of Douglas Fir and olive wood harvested from the campus. The university was once lush with olive trees, says Herjeczki, but as the school has grown many have been cut down.

7. Domkyrkoforum Lund by Carmen Izquierdo
In Lund, Sweden, a striking, shimmering golden façade defines the city's new forum. The flashy brass alloy structure has been inserted between two ancient buildings and forms two new public squares. ‘In a couple of years it will have oxidized into a deep and matte bronze colour,’ says architect Carmen Izquierdo.

8. Elspeet Church by FARO Architecten
‘It was inspired by the “hidden” churches of the past century,’ says Hugo de Clercq of FARO Architecten. At points in history, Mennonites were not allowed to gather to worship together in public; they then disguised their churches in barns or hid them in the woods, like the Elspeet church.

9. Ode à la Vie by Moment Factory
The intervention was organized by Canadian studio Moment Factory, whose video performance Ode à la Vie (Ode to Life), consisted of a psychedelic projection. It animated the chuch’s iconic pillars to the bystanders’ awe, in a colour and light spree. The façade was shaken by waves, lit by sparkles and livened by greenery and water, suggesting an idea of God and nature going far beyond the traditional Christian iconography.

10. Funeral Chapel by Bayer & Strobel Architekten
Made from yellow-grey quarry stone, the design by Bayer & Strobel Architekten's reveals a mixture of private and public features while maintaining a reflective mood throughout. A heavy wall blocks the cemetery from the street, creating a more concealed space for reflection. The double-height funeral chapel sits within the centre of the redesign, emphasized by its symmetry and triangular profile both externally and internally.

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