churches

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Photography

The Remains of 100 Abandoned Italian Churches Peek Through Rubble and Foliage in Roman Robroek’s Photos

March 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Roman Robroek, shared with permission

Whether cloaked in thick moss and debris or almost entirely preserved, the abandoned churches photographed by Roman Robroek document the effects of a changing landscape. At least 1,000 of the religious spaces are left unoccupied in both small towns and cities throughout Italy and stand in varying degrees of disrepair. In visiting approximately 100 chapels for his series CHIESA, Robroek witnessed how the once-sacred structures have been left behind. “If a church, once the most important haven in the community, can become a pile of ruins, what does that say about what we hold certain today?” he asks in an essay.

Robroek’s photos, which will be accompanied by drone footage by Sven van der Wal slated for release later this year, capture the beauty of disrepair: foliage grows from the rubble of a collapsed ceiling, a heavy layer of dust covers humble, wooden pews, and gilded trim and elaborately designed altars remain in pristine condition. The Netherlands-based photographer has broadly considered why a growing number of Italy’s churches, of which there are at least 20,000 throughout the country, are deserted. His reasonings include natural disasters, the long-standing effects of war, and cultural shifts. “Admittedly, it might seem incredible that such stunning, artful churches are in this state of decay, but it all connects to the same issues…the lack of community and the economic desolation of an area that has long past its prime,” he says.

Next month, Robroek will be traveling to Thailand to photograph abandoned structures, and you can follow his findings on Instagram. Until then, pick up a print in his shop, and check out his book Oblivian, which catalogs ten years of his practice and is available on Bookshop. (via Peta Pixel)

 

 

 



Photography

Cloaked in Red and Blue Light, St. Peter’s Basilica Morphs into a Cyberpunk Dreamscape

October 13, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Aishy, shared with permission

In the aptly named Red Lights: Vatican series, Angers, France-based photographer Aishy transforms St. Peter’s Basilica into a strange, illuminated space that more closely resembles a sci-fi universe than stately church. The altered perspective, which Aishy achieved with Adobe Lightroom, casts red and blue hues on the iconic Renaissance architecture to unveil an alternative environment that hovers between past and future: inscriptions mimic a digital display, ornate flourishes appear backlit, and an artificial glow in vibrant, saturated tones blankets the lavish structured typically associated with marble, gilded details, and other ornamental features. To view the entire Red Lights: Vatican series, find the photographer on Behance and Instagram. (via Jeroen Apers)

 

 

 



Design History Photography

Architectural Shots Frame the Stately Modern Designs of Churches Across Europe

August 25, 2021

Grace Ebert

Saint-Martin de Donges, France (Jean Dorian, 1957). All images © Thibaud Poirier, shared with permission

French photographer Thibaud Poirier continues his Sacred Spaces series by capturing the modern architecture of dozens of temples across Europe. Similar to earlier images, Poirier uses the same focal point of the front pulpit and pews in all of the photographs, allowing easy comparisons between the colors, motifs, and structural details of each location. “I selected these spaces for the use of original materials, modern for their time in sacred architecture, like steel, concrete, as well as large aluminum and glass panels,” he tells Colossal. Because travel has been limited due to COVID-19, Poirier has mostly visited 20th- and 21st-century churches in France, Germany, and the Netherlands for Sacred Spaces II, although he plans to expand his range in the coming months. Keep an eye out for those shots on Behance and Instagram.

 

Saint-Rémy de Baccarat, Baccarat, France (Nicolas Kazis, 1957)

St. Johann von Capistran, Munich, Germany (Sep Ruf, 1960)

United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, Colorado Springs (Walter Netsch, 1962)

Saint Ignatius, Tokyo, Japan (Sakakura Associates, 1999)

Cathédrale de la Résurrection, Evry, France (Mario Botta, 1999)

Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur, Montrouge, France (Erik Bagge, 1940)

Notre-Dame-du-Travail, Paris, France (Jule-Godefroy Astruc, 1902)

 

 



Art

Future Returns: A Plasma-Cut Forest Reclaims an Oil Tanker in a New Sculpture by Dan Rawlings

June 21, 2021

Christopher Jobson

“Future Returns” by Dan Rawlins. All photos by Mark Bickerdike, shared with permission

In perhaps the not-so-distant future, sculptor Dan Rawlings (previously) imagines a world where machinery from the unsustainable energy industry is now a relic of the past, slowly overtaken by nature in a state of decomposition. In his latest sculpture titled “Future Returns,” the artist uses his trademark plasma-cutting style to etch a sizeable canopy of foliage that emerges from the steel shell of a reclaimed oil tanker. The work is currently housed inside a 19th-Century church in Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire, England. From a statement about the project:

“Future Returns” invites us to examine our own part in commercialization and the resulting changes to our natural environment. Rawlings believes it is easy to demonize industry but we must acknowledge that it has allowed life as we know it to bloom. It is our ability to design, create and produce that has put towns like Scunthorpe on the global map. He also believes oil companies have much to answer for, from the state of our environment to mistrust of science.

“Future Returns” will be on view at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre through September 25, 2021, and you can book free viewing times on the center’s site. (via Creative Boom)

 

 

 



Design

Two Recycled Woods are Engineered into a Modest, Airy Church in Indonesia

June 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © TSDS, by Mario Wibowo

Constructed entirely with locally sourced wood waste, “Oikumene Church” erected in Sajau, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, is designed to conform to its natural environment. The unassuming project features a slatted facade made of Rimba, or teak, while the inner structure utilizes meranti. An open-air hallway wraps around the perimeter of the building that’s situated at the highest elevation in the region.

For the worship space, TSDS Interior Architects relied on the Dayak people’s “Rumah Betang” design concept, which is an elongated, single-room dwelling that must have entryways on the east and west sides. Varying roof heights improve airflow throughout the interior, allowing it to stay cool throughout the day when temperatures hover around 90 degrees Fahrenheit with more than 85 percent humidity.

See more of TSDS’s environmentally thoughtful architecture on Instagram. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Design

Corrugated Steel Shelves Line a Church-Turned-Poetry-Shop in Shanghai

May 12, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Wutopia Lab

Peer inside Shanghai’s St. Nicholas, an Orthodox church from 1932, and you won’t see pews or traditional iconography. Thanks to architectural firm Wutopia Lab, the renovated building now serves as a shrine to verse. Titled “Church in Church,” the 388 square-meter structure holds Sinan Books Poetry Store, which boasts more than 1,000 volumes written in multiple languages. They’re displayed on steel shelves weighing 45 tons that contrast the ornate facades, high archways, and ceiling-bound frescoes of the original architecture.

In a conversation with ArchDaily, Wutopia Lab said the Chinese city’s mandates to preserve historical features restricted the project. The result is a light-filled space for Shanghai’s poetry community.

It should have an independent spirituality and should not be based on the religion of the old site. Given the fact that the dome could not be transformed, I used bookshelf to create a new structure as a Church in the old building Church. This is ‘Church in Church,’ a sanctuary for modern people was born in where once a sanctuary of faith.

For shoppers who need a snack after browsing, there are two cafes on the east and west sides of the building. For more of Wutopia Lab’s poetic designs, head to Instagram. You also might like these similarly transformed bookstores in the Netherlands and Buenos Aires. (via Trendland)