Religion is an expression of social cohesion, it helps maintain solidarity through shared beliefs and rituals. Religious morals and norms have shaped the lives of people for times immemorial. The effect of religion on architecture is visibly imminent throughout history. In the past, faith was interpreted in a straightforward sense, through concrete representations of the aspects of a religion. In today’s context, it is possible to exhibit our faith and beliefs in a symbolic capacity.
As art is capable of creating visible images of stories, myths, and dreams, architecture is capable of reflecting the ideologies of people’s culture. Intangible aspects of religion are manifest in the architecture of religious structures in some form. In the past, replication of the forms and beliefs of religion was widely practiced. But the present is enamored with technology and advancement, the way of representation can be more cerebral and convoluted.
How do we embed religion in buildings of today?
The structure and spatial layout of a religious complex are dependent on the evolution of cultural patterns. They are intricate, impressive, and monolithic structures built by humanity. But after lasting for centuries, some of these structures are deteriorating, marking an end to the story of a once existent timeline. Whitby Abbey church is one of the oldest churches in existence. It belonged to a 7th-century Christian monastery. The abbey has been the picturesque setting for various forms of art like novels and paintings.
The shell of the church remains, and the actively decaying structure has managed to guard its allure, making it one of the most visited tourist spots for years. While the main structure is sustained by its ruins and many allied activities on the ground that has benefited from the location’s popularity, the site is missing a place of worship that was the original occupant of the area. The ruins stand as a representation of the rich religious background of the abbey and this effect can be re-built. The Monastery church was rebuilt in the Gothic style of architecture in the 13th century. The shell was in the process of being built but it was weakened due to the erosion from wind and rain. The church has carried its legend for over 700 years now, and it is time to continue the story through a contemporary structure of this day.
Brief: The challenge of the competition was to design a chapel on the grounds of the Whitby Abbey inspired by the church on-site, but suited to the 21st-century context.
The aim of the challenge was to revamp the traditional chapel design and create a new structure that is set in a well-preserved and historically significant context. The visual impact must be exemplary with standout features. The construction must have minimal impact on its natural environment. Hosting a public function, space must promote safe interaction among people with access to all faiths and communities. The design of the new chapel must be in harmony with its surrounding landmarks.
Some of the Best competition projects are as follows:
Winning Project: Sacred Hollow
By: Vincent Rey
Description: Following the idea that the new chapel is a continuity of the Whitby abbey, the design of the chapel is inspired by the architecture of the abbey. The first characteristic we observe is gothic architecture is the repetition of structural elements. For the new chapel, this aesthetic is interpreted by the creation of a concrete grid structure.
People’s Choice: See-through
By: Tadea de ipiña
Description: The project seeks to create an environment of containment that can be directly related to the environment, and thus frame the emblematic views of the bay, in a community space designed for reflection.
Editor’s Choice: Crypt of lag
By: Tadea de ipiña
Description: The concept of this chapel is to create a space where all religions are welcomed through experiences and not symbolism. This chapel has central access where by means of a double ramp it reaches the underground spaces which the private is managed by these extruded floor beams reaching a space open to the sky for meditation.
Editor’s Choice: Path of Comprehend
Description: A path, to pursue inner will and peace of mind. Whitby Abbey church is a man-made relic left in nature. It not only symbolizes the central idea of a period but also plays an important role in the cohesion of the local people. Nowadays it has gradually withered but never disappeared in the hearts of residents.
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