Advisor: Terri Fuglem
Design and architecture can be traced back to the beginnings of the earth through sources such as The Bible and Christianity. Extrapolating upon these intentions are to identify a distilled approach to architecture and examine topics of design linking Christianity to the built religious and non-religious environment. The Church’s shifting status manifests through the declining popularity of the religion. In light of the decline, questions of relevancy are being considered. Many are wondering how can this be addressed and how can Christian practices both reflect God and his guidance while branching out and adjusting to the current ethos? Regardless of doctrine or denomination of Christianity many churches have a similar underlying goal; to reach those who are ‘unchurched’ a term self defined as someone who does not believe in the faith of Christ. Both the faithful and unfaithful are integral pieces in God’s plans for Christianity and this world. Agape, God’s selfless love for all human kind is one of three terms found in The Bible that defines love. This highest form of love impacts all aspects of Christianity and earthly life and manifest through built environments, human interactions and influences one’s daily actions. Churches traditionally have been used for a variety of programs, for religious ceremonies and practices, unaffiliated meetings, gatherings and events. Regardless of the event taking place the built forms of Christian worship spaces and attendant facilities portray and advocate for agape and in turn administer the interactions between the ‘unchurched’ and churched. This is not a means to convert or force the ‘unchurched’ into a church they call home, but merely to explore God’s love in a tangible way through the built environment. Through the examination of ancient and contemporary religious practices and architecture, the goal is to design a space that connects Christianity to our human made world; a place that is both inviting to the ‘unchurched’ while remaining a rich harvest for Christianity and respecting God himself.
Image 1: Paper miniature model: narthex from stair.
Image 2: Paper miniature model: choir loft.
Image 3: Shift drawing: (Left) Technological advances have provided an outlet for greater church impact beyond the structure of the building or geographic location. (Right) A decline in church attendance creates an opportunity for churches to build community-centric, multipurpose and environmentally friendly facilities.
Image 4: 3D printed model of existing Onion dome.
Image 5: Conceptual slice of existing church roof, ceiling, walls and floor.
Image 6: New addition lobby entrance looking up to new auditorium and existing auditorium.