Published on January 23rd, 2014 | by Robyn Purchia1
Photos of Churches That Connect the Spirit With Nature
People visit churches to be inspired; to feel connected to something bigger than their ordinary lives. That connection can come from the sermons, or the strength of the congregation, or the prayers, or the music. Or sometimes it can come from the architecture of the church itself.
Modern architects have recognized the power in connecting nature with the divine. Below are some wonderful examples of churches from around the world that inspire our love of God’s creation.
Basilica De La Sagrada Familia (Barcelona, Spain)
Antonio Gaudi is the genius behind the unique, nature-inspired La Sagrada Familia. Gaudi was a deeply religious man and a naturalist. He is often quoted as saying ‘originality is returning to the origin.’ The whimsical tree-like columns and flowery windows of the church, make visitors to La Sagrada Familia feel as though they are, indeed, returning to the forest.
Wayfarers Chapel (Palos Verdes, California)
The chapel’s architect, Lloyd Wright, son Frank Lloyd Wright, designed the Wayfares Chapel to be a natural sanctuary set in the midst of a forest. Wright was inspired by the northern California redwoods. The design of the Wayfares Chapel, set amidst the trees and the southern California coast, perfectly celebrates the beauty of the California landscape.
Siofok Lutheran Church (Siofok, Hungary)
Imre Makovecz was a Hungarian architect and a strong proponent of “organic architecture.” After soviets banned him from Budapest, he moved to the countryside. Makovecz found inspiration there and developed his architectural style, which borrowed and reinterpreted designs from nature. His beautiful churches, including the Lutheran Church in the town of Siofok, use natural, organic building materials and celebrate the variety and fun in nature.
Thorncrown Chapel (Eureka Springs, Arkansas)
Architect E. Fay Jones was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and a proponent of organic architecture. He designed the chapel with mostly natural, organic materials. The building has a native flagstone floor surrounded with a rock wall, giving the feeling that the chapel is part of its Ozark hillside. Fay labeled the design “Ozark Gothic.”
Church on Water (Tomamu, Japan)
According to architect Tadao Ando, “You cannot simply put something new into a place. You have to absorb what you see around you, what exists on the land, and then use that knowledge along with contemporary thinking to interpret what you see.” The natural elements of water, trees, and hillsides surrounding the Church on the Water – which only look more remarkable when covered with snow – work to enhance the structure for a very inspiring experience.
Cathedral of Christ the Light (Oakland, California)
The walls of the Cathedral of Christ the Light are composed of overlapping panels of wood and glass, much like the scales of a fish. The inspiration for the design is the miracle of the loaves and fishes. The cathedral’s architect, Craig W. Hartman, said, “the design allows light to filter in, reminiscent of how light filters through a canopy of tall redwood trees in a wooded glade.”
Cathedral of the Northern Lights (Alta, Norway)
When the Cathedral of the Northern Lights was originally proposed, the Alta City Council wanted more than a church. It wanted a landmark that would showcase nature’s brilliant phenomena: the northern lights. As requested, the titanium exterior of the cathedral reflects the lights that shine during long periods of Arctic darkness. The cathedral was inaugurated in 2013 and is already perceived as a wonderful example of the relationship between church and nature.
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