Posts tagged with "Religious Architecture":

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Hawaii to begin construction on Northern Hemisphere’s largest telescope

After a series of legal battles spanning several years, the Hawaiian state government will officially allow construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) to begin next week. Governor David Ige and other state officials announced that heavy machinery will be moved to the project site atop the Big Island’s famous Mauna Kea volcano starting on Monday.

Upon completion, the TMT will be the largest telescope in the Northern Hemisphere and the most powerful of Mauna Kea’s 13 observatories. The observatory will match the height of an 18-story building and its dome will have a span equivalent to two-thirds of a football field. Official estimates place its cost at around $1.4 billion, though some astronomers have predicted the project could reach $2 billion.

The state’s decision to move forward with the TMT project comes amid continuing objection from activists seeking to protect Mauna Kea from more large-scale construction. Some Native Hawaiians have been particularly vocal, arguing that the telescope will contribute to the volcano's environmental degradation and impede Indigenous people’s access to the sacred land. Opponents of the TMT have used a variety of tactics to prevent the construction of the telescope. In 2014, protesters blocked roads to the site and disrupted a groundbreaking ceremony. After a coalition of land-use activists and non-profit organizations filed a lawsuit against the state for approving the telescope without allowing locals to voice concerns, the Hawaiian Supreme Court rescinded the TMT International Observatory’s building permit in 2015.

While a poll issued by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser last year showed majority support for the project among Native Hawaiians, the telescope’s past legal troubles highlight the complexity of land stewardship on Mauna Kea. According to state law, the volcano is held in trust by the Hawaiian government and must be preserved for usage by future generations of Hawaiians. As part of the deal allowing for the TMT’s construction, the state will permanently close and dismantle five smaller observatories on the Big Island so that their sites can be fully rehabilitated.

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Why are architects focusing on Notre Dame and not St. Landry Parish?

One month ago, all of Paris and people around the world watched as flames rose high into the air above France's beloved Notre Dame Cathedral. The sight was tragic and left many asking how, why, and what next. The response was immediate and immense. Less than 48 hours after the Notre Dame fire, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced an international design competition to reimagine the iconic arrow-like spire atop the cathedral. In one week, over $1 billion was pledged to restore the cultural icon, with a promise by the president of France himself to rebuild the global landmark in under five years. Within days of that statement, design firms responded eagerly for their chance to impart their ideas on this historic building. For designers, this competition could be viewed as the chance of a lifetime, the opportunity to make a mark on an icon of culture and history. But Notre Dame was far from the only house of worship to suffer catastrophic damage this year. Three historically black churches in Louisiana burned in a series of alleged hate crimes, three churches in Sri Lanka were bombed on Easter Sunday, and a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, was riddled with bullet holes, all just in the past few months. All of these events are tragic too. Why is the design world addressing only one? When the three churches of St. Landry Parish in southern Louisiana burned to the ground in the two weeks between March 26 and April 4, these fires quickly made the national news and became a springboard for conversations around race relations in our country. On a national scale, these discussions were, quite necessarily, about the hateful acts themselves, but failed to address what to do in their aftermath. It wasn’t until the massive financial response to the Notre Dame fire took off that a larger spotlight illuminated the plight of these churches as spaces and places in need of financial support as well. People around the world began donating funds to the Seventh District Baptist Church’s GoFundMe page, which before the Notre Dame fire had only raised $50,000. In the two days following April 15, the day of the Notre Dame fire, the campaign brought in nearly $1 million. This display of generosity was not in multi-million dollar donations but in amounts ranging mostly from $5 to $20. One month later, the church has nearly $2.2 million to rebuild. Despite the money now available, there has been no political charge and few design ideas put forward for the rebuilding of the three Louisiana churches. Does St. Landry Parish not warrant as bold a vision for its rebuilding efforts as Notre Dame? One might say the Louisiana buildings were not on the same playing field as Notre Dame. And it’s true that they didn’t have the same grandeur of scale or the global affinity, but they had people who depended on them all the same. We need to stop idolizing the building as an icon, and instead, honor the people of a place. This is also an opportunity to start bridging the expansive gap of access and inclusion that exists in today’s design community—the glaring lack of diversity within the makeup of our industry and its projects. It is a chance to refocus the lens of design beyond massive, global, and wealthy institutions to include those that capture the essence of all people and all experiences. Design is a tool to bring people together and help foster conversations that can lead to healing. For communities in Louisiana, Christchurch, and Sri Lanka, communities that have had some of their most sacred places ravaged by the violence of hate, a new place can help people mourn what and whom they’ve lost, celebrate those lives, and then, in time, focus on their shared beliefs and common goals. A new place can help people to rise above the negativity of a few and honor the positivity of the whole. We should always remember that design is for everyone, not just those where “funding is not an issue.” So let’s open our ears, our minds, and our hearts to the communities who need their voices heard and let’s expand on the definition of design so that it is no longer rooted in the things that we build but instead is measured by the experiences we shape and the memories we create. Meredith McCarthy, AIA, is a senior associate with Sasaki. She is passionate about advancing equity and inclusion within the industry and through her design work with communities around the world.  
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Hawaiian communities are fighting to keep massive telescope off sacred land

The Hawaiian Supreme Court ruled on October 30 that construction of the $2 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) can continue, setting the stage for a battle between scientists and native activists. In a 4-1 decision, the court ruled on the validity of a construction permit that would allow the telescope to proceed. Although there are already 13 other observatories on Mauna Kea, a mountain on the Big Island, the TMT would become the largest in the Northern Hemisphere once complete and allow an unprecedented look into sky; Mauna Kea is 14,000 feet above sea level and isolated from light pollution. But it’s also a sacred mountain and burial ground to the native Polynesian population, and they’ve been leading the charge against the construction of the TMT for over five years. Opponents have been using a combination of litigation and civil action, namely blockading groundbreakings and the construction site, to prevent the telescope’s development. The issue is one of native sovereignty and colonialism, a conflict harkening all the way back to the original annexing of Hawaii by the United States in 1898. Mauna Kea is where Polynesian Hawaiians originally refined their own star maps for navigation, and the mountain still holds a number of religious altars used by priests to this day. Support among Hawaiians for the TMT seems to be broad, however, at least according to a 2016 poll, adding weight to the push for telescope’s construction. Will the TMT’s 98-foot-wide mirror scan the atmospheres of planets outside of our solar system for markers of biological compounds any time soon? It doesn’t seem likely, despite the Supreme Court ruling. The 18-and-a-half-story observatory was originally scheduled to be completed in 2024 and is now five years behind schedule. For its part, the observatory’s board has vowed to continue talking with the mayor and local residents. Activists have pledged to continue protesting the telescope through non-violent means, their ultimate goal is to force the TMT to build on its backup site in the Canary Islands.
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A design competition brings kaleidoscopic sukkahs to downtown Detroit

After an international design contest that drew 78 entries from 14 countries, five winning sukkahs (temporary huts built for the weeklong Jewish holiday Sukkot) have landed in Detroit’s Capitol Park. The competition was part of Sukkah x Detroit, a celebration of Jewish culture, Detroit’s status as a UNESCO City of Design, and the city’s large number of urban farms; the chosen sukkahs make reference to all three. Sukkah x Detroit was an initiative of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue as part of Detroit’s Month of Design, and all five winning designs will be on display until the festival’s end on September 30. Sukkahs are meant to be flexible and at least partially exposed to the elements, and observant Jews are expected to eat and sleep in the temporary structures during the seven days of Sukkot. All of the winning structures put a playful spin on the typical sukkah typology but were certified by two rabbis to ensure they met biblical requirements and were fully usable. Abre Etteh of New Malden, U.K., sought to evoke the light that filters through a swaying treetop canopy with his entry, Hallel. Painted blue plywood was used to form the structure of Hallel, while 500 freshly-milled cherry shingles were hung from the ceiling. The shingles all move with the breeze, and dappled light is reflected in a brass-covered bowl of water in the center of the floor. Gamma Architects from Gibraltar focused on sharing in both the physical and spiritual sense with their Shuk-kah. This sukkah was built from recycled white vegetable crates, ubiquitous sights at food markets around the world, which were used for the structure’s walls, furniture, and central table. A “roof” of bamboo scaffolding was installed overhead that would allow visitors to see the stars, and LEDs were run through the crates making up the walls, enabling the hut to softly glow at night. Noah Ives, of Portland, Oregon, reinterpreted the sukkah as an art object with his biomorphic Seedling Sukkah, which resembles a pinecone or hive at first glance. Laser-cut plywood “leaves” were used to tile the outside of Seedling Sukkah, creating a lightweight, open pavilion that references nature in both material and form. JE-LE, the only Detroit-based winner, took cues from the vibrancy and sculptural qualities of fruit for Pocket Space, by referencing the packed fruit ornamentations traditionally hung inside of sukkahs. Sukkahs are by nature designed to be intimate spaces, but JE-LE expanded the uses of Pocket Space through a series of rotating interior nets that can be adjusted based on use. Finally, the Cambridge-based Nice One Projects embraced the inherently paradoxical nature of the sukkah (a structure that by definition must remain exposed and open to nature) with Chaffy. Nice One took the premise to its logical extreme, attempting to “dissolve” all sense of hard walls by creating a continuous wall clad in thousands of thatch bundles. Inside, guests will find a respite from the outside world, allowing them to see out while remaining obscured. Sukkah x Detroit was modeled after New York’s 2010 Sukkah City, a competition that brought 12 high-design sukkahs to Union Square and spawned both a book and a documentary on the exhibition. Unable to make it to Detroit by September 30? The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan and JCC Harlem are presenting five sukkahs designed by artists from now until October 8, including a scaled down version of Israeli architect Avner Sher's Jerusalem 950m2 (Quarter Acre) Alternate Topographies. All 78 Sukkah x Detroit entries can be seen online here.
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German photographer Haubitz + Zoche captures colorful Christian churches in Kerala

Polychromatic, Le Corbusier-inspired postmodern churches in Kerala are hidden gems of India that were recently photographed by art studio Haubitz + Zoche. In the series titled Hybrid Modernism, the post-colonial churches built after the country’s independence in 1947 are efforts by Indian architects to reinterpret Western influences and develop an identifiable local language with bright colors and sculptural forms. In post-independence India, Le Corbusier was responsible for the master plan of Chandigarh, a city in the north of India. He also built influential buildings such as the High Court, which became famous for the play of colors contrasted against the beton brut surfaces. His style made its way across the country into the architecture of Kerala, a southern state in India. Haubitz+Zoche shunned the popular churches and pilgrimage centers in Kerala, but explored the lesser-known ones that contain a variety of Western influences, Corbusian and beyond. A mixture of postmodern motifs can be seen in the architecture. Sculptures of stars, crosses, globes, and Bibles populate the facades, conveying the world-encompassing, light-radiating themes of Christianity. The photographs are an extension to their work from 2014, when they captured the extravagantly ornamented movie theaters of South India. A similar cinematic sense can be discerned from the region’s religious architecture. An exhibition of the photos, titled Postcolonial Epiphany: Churches and cinemas in South-India, is now on view at Zephyr, a modern art museum in Mannheim, Germany. The exhibition highlights the spellbinding magic with which these venues captivate their audiences. Visitors can experience the architecture’s otherworldly attraction by looking at the photographs.
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Museum of the Bible opens near National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The Museum of the Bible opened last week in a new home designed by Washington, D.C.–based SmithGroupJJR. The museum occupies a renovated 1922 former refrigerated warehouse that later served as Washington’s Design Center, and will comprise a large glass addition meant to evoke an ancient boat (or perhaps ark) floating above the city. In a prepared statement, the designers call it “a palimpsest: the built equivalent of a manuscript that bears traces of several versions of text added and erased over time.” At the main entrance of the eight-level, 430,000-square-foot building, a tall, narrow opening originally used for trains has been restored and is flanked by two large bronze panels inspired by typesetting blocks from the original Gutenberg Bible. It refers to one of the main curatorial concepts of the museum: that the meaning and interpretation of the Bible are historically dependent on its means of production and dissemination. The designers removed several floor slabs added during an earlier renovation to open up the industrial cargo area into a tall atrium that, the designers say, suggests the nave of a Gothic or Renaissance church. The circulation paths are arranged in a vertical hub-and-spoke model that allows visitors to choose their own adventure, rather than make their way along a fixed vertical path as is the case in many multi-level museums, especially those on tight urban sites. The hall now serves as both an orientation and gathering place, while also providing access to the adjacent museum shop and the cafe on a mezzanine above. The new construction sits atop the original industrial brick structure. In the exhibition spaces, removable raised flooring gives curators flexibility, while “digital docents” will be available as either a priest or a rabbi. The museum also includes 12 theatres, a 475-seat performing arts venue, conference amenities, biblical garden, rare manuscript library, a 450-seat ballroom, spaces for scholarly research, and hotel rooms for visiting scholars. The museum will be visible from the National Mall when looking down 4th Street, and it hovers above an existing Metro train line and also adds to an axis along 4th Street that includes the National Building Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Air & Space Museum. The museum opened to the public last Friday, November 17.
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Bahá’í Temple of South America wins 2017 Innovation in Architecture Award

This article was originally published on ArchDaily as “Bahá’í Temple of South America Wins 2017 Innovation in Architecture Award.” Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini Architects’ Bahá’í Temple of South America has won the 2017 Innovation in Architecture Award presented by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). Located in the foothills of the Andes Mountains outside Santiago, Chile, the domed building was designed and built using computer modeling, measuring, and fabrication software, as well as custom glass, all of which culminated in nine monumental veils that frame an open worship space for up to 600 visitors. Completed in 2016, the project took 14 years to realize.
The Bahá’í Temple of South America reflects innovations in materials, technology, and structure. For instance, a search for materials that capture light resulted in the development of two cladding materials: an interior layer of translucent marble from Portugal, and an exterior layer of cast-glass panels developed, in collaboration with the Canadian glass artist Jeff Goodman, for this project.
In addition, the Temple is designed to withstand extreme earthquakes and wind. Thousands of individually engineered steel members and nodal connections comprise the super-structures of the wings, each of which rests on concrete columns on seismic bearings.
I am very pleased to receive this award, said partner-in-charge Siamak Hariri, FRAIC. The brief was for a new type of sacred space, a place of worship that is attractive, open, and inviting to people of all faiths or none at all. Innovation was at the heart of the project. The award is a testimony to the deep collaboration of literally hundreds of people.
The Bahá’í Temple of South America will be honored at the RAIC/OAA Festival of Architecture in Ottowa between May 24 and 27. News via: The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). Written by Sabrina Santos. Want more from ArchDaily? Like their Facebook page here. Archdaily_Collab_1
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A new center for Jewish life in West Philly takes design cues from a menorah

When students return to class at one Philadelphia school this semester, they will have a new Hillel to call home.

The Raymond G. Perelman Center for Jewish Life at Drexel University, designed by San Francisco–based Natoma Architects, anchors Jewish life on campus. The firm, which came to the project with extensive experience designing spaces for Jewish life and memory, wanted to "create a continuing community of Jewish values through meeting, learning, ceremony and ritual."

To achieve this, the center's design invokes shape and spirit of a menorah, the ritual candelabra that symbolizes wisdom and the creation myth, among other things. (Those who celebrated Chanukah last week light a chanukiah, or nine-candle menorah.)

The four-level, three-story building features a worship space on top divided into three sections for Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox services, plus a library. A circular court, above, connects the three spaces and gives synagogue-goers a taste of sky, free from the clutter of other buildings. Below that, offices and flexible classrooms provide venues for meetings and discussion groups, while the first and most social ground floor is connected to the upstairs by a gracious staircase that doubles as stadium seating. The basement, a kitchen and storage space, rounds out the program.

Outside, handsome, complex brickwork references the weaving of tallit, Jewish prayer shawls, and Philadelphia's vernacular redbrick facades.

Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron praised the building in a recent review: "At a time when so many new buildings in our city have become relentlessly generic, it’s a pleasure to see one saturated with narrative and meaning." The structure, Saffron said, is intended to attract more Jews to Drexel, where about seven percent of students identify as Jewish.

Natoma Architects, founded by Stanley Saitowitz, has completed synagogues in two California cities that use the same menorah motif to different effect. At Beth Sholom Synagogue in San Francisco, above, Saitowitz invoked the menorah's traditional curves to craft a stone sanctuary on a plinth above the street. At La Jolla's Beth El Synagogue, concrete columns alternate with glass windows and open space to create the characteristic menorah shape. Saitowitz's clean detailing extends to the smallest Judaica, too. His firm has a stainless steel mezuzah for sale, as well as a threaded steel chanukiah. The $9.6-million Center for Jewish Life is one small component of the university's recent growth. Drexel is in the midst of a major expansion, part of a $3.5-billion project to spur development in neighborhoods on opposing sides of the Schuylkill River.
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OMA does weddings and bar mitzvahs on Wilshire Boulevard

Word of an OMA-designed building for the Wilshire Boulevard Temple has been in the grapevine for months. The firm was on the short list this past spring along with Kengo Kuma & Associates, Morphosis Architects, and Steven Holl Architects for the 55,000-square-foot event space across the street from the institution’s recently restored 1929 Byzantine-Revival sanctuary. Now, a new building is moving forward with a name, an architect, and a fundraising campaign. Koolhaas is officially the architect for the Audrey Irmas Pavilion, even if renderings are still under wraps. Shohei Shigematsu and Jason Long will lead the project out of OMA’s New York office. Irmas, a philanthropist, art collector, and temple congregant pledged $30 million to lead the fundraising campaign for the new building. She is raising those funds by putting a Cy Twombly in her personal collection up for sale. The entire proceeds of the sale of the painting will benefit The Audrey Irmas Foundation for Social Justice, with a portion earmarked for the OMA pavilion. The new building, proposed to open in 2019, will accommodate all sorts of community events: weddings, bar mitzvahs, and galas. The project would be the firm’s first cultural building in California and first commission from a religious institution. OMA’s commercial project, The Plaza at Santa Monica, seems to be sluggishly moving through that city’s political channels. It passed the City Council in June, but still faces community opposition due to its height.
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107 dead in Mecca as crane collapses on Islam's most sacred mosque, Al-Masjid al-Haram

The Saudi Arabia civil defence authority reports nearly 200 injured as preparations were being made for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The authority said the crane fell as a result of a storm in the vicinity, however, it is not yet known if this was the sole reason or whether there were any structural faults with the crane. A tweet below appears to show lightning hitting the crane minutes before it fell which may have caused the tragedy. If so, questions will be asked as to why it wasn't fitted with a sufficient electrical grounding mechanism. https://twitter.com/flyroundthewrld/status/642379123655053313 https://twitter.com/CNN/status/642406517648527361 https://twitter.com/BBCBreaking/status/642391030793433089 https://twitter.com/aamirsagar/status/642396441831448577 Every year hundreds of thousands of Muslims make their way to the site as part of the Hajj Pilgrimage. According to Al Jazeera, the crane fell at approximately 5:45p.m., with the mosque being packed 45 minutes before prayer. Some viewers may find footage in the video below disturbing and so viewer discretion is advised. https://youtu.be/SqxwoQLpC0A
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This miniature Italian Gothic cathedral by Pratt alum Ryan McAmis gets every teeny tiny detail right

The devil is in the microscopic details in this miniature model of an Italian gothic cathedral by illustrator and graphic designer Ryan McAmis. The Pratt Institute alum has built the Renaissance interior and exterior from scratch with arresting realism, right down to the furnishings, wall tombs, and iconic paintings. The Brooklyn-based artist used materials from hand-scribed brickwork on treated paper, to clay and wood for the most true-to-life effect. He then combines all the materials and creates a silicon mold to strengthen it and casts the pieces in white plastic, which he then hand paints. To achieve the correct scale, the artist mapped out the structure using computer vector modeling. He reverts again to the computer to render the stained-glass windows, which he lays out on Photoshop and then prints on a transparency. He then uses a small clay tool to burnish every little piece and give it the appearance of regular panes of 600-year-old leaded glass. The granite flooring, too, is designed on Photoshop and printed on archival paper. The paper is then glued to the floor, varnished, and sanded several times, while the clay tool is again enlisted to scribe the tiles. Most enrapturing of all is the apse – the very back of the cathedral beneath which the high altar sits – clad in ultramarine blue and gold stars inspired by the ceiling in the Scrovegni Chapel in Veneto, Italy, painted by Giotto Bondone. “Blue was the most expensive color in the late medieval period. It was made from Lapiz Lazuli imported from Afghanistan,” McAmis writes on his website. Meanwhile, the wall tomb in the apse is inspired by Renaissance funerary monuments, such as Bernardo Rossellino’s design for the tomb of Leonardo Bruni in the church of Santa Croce in Florence. The top of McAmis' wall tomb bears the bust of St. Mark’s, flanked by busts of Putto at the corners. Inside the church are fixtures such as the Savonarola, a Renaissance folding chair, and a miniature framed painting of the Madonna and child. In an interview with Daily Mini, McAmis revealed that while he would love to install an operative secret passage or gargoyle fountain, inside the funerary wall monuments are hidden mementos of his recently deceased cat, Leo – a fang, a bundle of whiskers and a lock of fur.
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Be the one to restore Stamford's fish-shaped First Presbyterian Church

Design professionals are being sought for a consulting role to provide a conditions assessment of the historic First Presbyterian Church complex in Stamford, Connecticut. As part of a multi-year campaign to repair, conserve, restore, and upgrade the complex, the selected team will be expected to complete an architectural analysis of the current conditions of the building and provide recommendations for its rehabilitation and restoration as part of Phase I. Phase II will see the implementation of these concepts by the same selected team. The complex in question includes the magnificent Wallace K. Harrison-designed sanctuary, completed in 1958, the 56-bell carillon tower, a community/education wing, and the surrounding 10-acre grounds. Over 20,000 pieces of faceted glass dapple the hushed sanctuary with its vaulted roof in sun-drenched color. The church itself is often likened to a fish, a symbol of early Christianity, and it, along with its sweeping complex, occupies an eminent spot on the Connecticut State Register of Historic Places. The conditions assessment in Phase I will help anticipate capital needs and outside grant funding needs in 2016 from the State Historic Preservation Office of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, as well as private foundations. Specifically, the chosen architect should earmark and document comprehensive repair needs for the envelopes, structure and MEP systems, and the interior finishes, and then also provide recommendations and a phasing framework for the restoration. The facade itself is notoriously water-permeable and lacks weatherproofing, made from béton glass secured to side wall concrete panels with caulking. As such, high on the checklist for the chosen architect is to examine the extent of moisture infiltration of the sanctuary Dalle de verre and improve climate control in the sanctuary to facilitate summer use. The architect should also observe the structural movement of the Carillon Tower, with the end objective of establishing a preliminary project scope and expected cost of repairs in compliance with SOIS, budget, and schedule. The Highland Green Foundation and Fish Church Conservancy will oversee the entire multi-year restoration campaign, and will provide the architect with digital files of the original construction drawings of the complex. Leaders of the proposed teams must attend a mandatory walk-through at the church on July 9, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. RFQs must be received at the church office (1101 Bedford St) by 3:00 p.m. on July 24, 2015. For more information about entry requirements and the judging panel, click here.