7 Brutal and Beautiful Concrete Churches
When you picture a church, you probably imagine ornate, opulent buildings with stained glass, intricate masonry and glorious interiors. However, these ecclesiastical buildings from around the world are made from concrete. What's surprising, is that all of them balance the brutal and beautiful so successfully. Far from feeling like an office block or a visitor centre, each of these churches has achieved a feeling of sanctuary and peace whilst staying true to their minimal, brutalist aesthetic. This confirms what everyone at CCL already knew, that concrete can be beautiful...
Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura, Guerrero, Mexico. Photograph by Esteban Suárez.
Designed to look like a boulder resting on the mountain side, the Sunset Chapel was inspired by the rugged surrounding landscape. Whereas many traditional churches rely on excessive internal decoration, Sunset Chapel's glass wall frames magnificent views of the ocean and sunsets to focus worshippers on the natural beauty outside, rather than on the inside.
Church of Seed by O Studio Architects, Huizhou, China. Photography Jingchao Wen.
The seed shaped footprint of this church (hence its name) is designed to soften the impact of a concrete building in such a naturally beautiful location. The building's organic shape was created by pouring concrete into bamboo formwork, leaving the imprint of the stems as a finish to the building to further enhance it's relationship with the surrounding landscape.
Church in La Laguna by Menis Architects, Tenerife, Spain. Photograph by Simona Rota.
This stylish church in Tenerife is one large piece of concrete cut into four large sections. Light bounces off the textured walls which are roughly lined with crushed volcanic rocks to create moving shapes and shadows throughout the day.
RW Concrete Church by NAMELESS Architecture, Seoul. Photograph is by Rohspace.
This imposing church is composed of a number of simple, cubic shapes poured from concrete. The cross within an illuminated empty space replaces the traditional bell tower and further cross motifs can be seen around the upper levels.
Saint John Baptist Chapel by Beautell Arquitectos, Spain. Photograph by Efraín Pintos
This concrete church in the Canary Islands, uses concrete to emphasise austerity. The church is built on a tiny, awkward plot of land and yet still accommodates 40 worshippers in its narrow main hall (pictured above). The room gets progressively taller towards the alter at the end of the room, lending it a certain reverence.
Froeyland Orstad Church by LINK Arkitektur, Bergen, Norway. Photograph by Hundven-Clements Photography
This 2100 square metre building boasts an impressive capacity of 600 as well as accommodating the country’s first baptismal pool. Although a powerful architectural statement, the clean, white lines of the building blend effortlessly with the crisp surrounding landscape.
Capilla del Lago by Di Vece Arquitectos, Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico. Photograph by Carlos Díaz Corona
Situated on a lake, this open-air concrete chapel is designed to be accessible to everybody at all times. This is done by dispensing with the walls in favour of a series of haphazard supporting columns which catch the sunlight at different times of day.