churches

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Amazing Design

An Abandoned Indonesian Church Shaped Like a Massive Clucking Chicken

July 21, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

Towering above the trees in a densely forested area of Indonesia lies a giant chicken. The gigantic structure has the body, tail, and head of the bird, even holding open its beak in what appears to be mid-squawk. Although the very old bird is quickly decaying, Gereja Ayam (as the locals call it) attracts hundreds of photographers and travelers to its location in Magelang, Central Java each year who are looking to explore the bird’s bizarre interior.

The building was originally built as a prayer house by 67-year-old Daniel Alamsjah after he received a divine message from God. Although he intended the building to resemble a dove, the locals care more that it looks like a chicken, nicknaming it “Chicken Church.” In addition to a prayer house, Alamsjah also used the building as a rehabilitation center, treating disabled children, drug addicts, and others. Alamsjah was forced to shut the center’s doors fifteen years ago after steep construction costs.

Currently five of the eight pillars holding up the building are crumbling while graffiti covers the inside walls. No longer a place for therapy, the building still serves as a place for worship and travel and according to locals—a private spot for many young couples to hide away from parents or prying eyes. (via Hyperallergic and Daily Mail)

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Design

A 100-Seat Church Constructed From Living Trees in New Zealand by Barry Cox

July 8, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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Located in the same island country that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed is a structure that, like the hill-secured homes of the hobbits, also seems to hide within its natural environment. The Tree Church is formed almost entirely from living trees with thick leaves covering its shady interior. The New Zealand-based church can seat a hundred people and was first planted by Barry Cox on his property near Cambridge beginning in 2011.

The original inspiration behind the structure was a means for Cox to “retreat from society.” However, after others caught word of his living church as it grew into completion over the last 4 years, he decided to open it and the surrounding gardens for public and private events. The Tree Church is now set within three acres of extensive shaded gardens, including a labyrinth walk based on the ancient city of Jericho from 460 BC.

An iron frame is at the core of the church, as Cox wanted the walls and roof of the natural building to be distinctly different, “just like masonry churches,” he said. Cut-leaf alder was chosen for the roof as it is flexible enough to be trained over the frame which will be removed when the branches become strong enough to support the church themselves. (via Faith is Torment, Inhabitat)

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Art

Glassy Pools of Used Motor Oil Reflect the Architectural Splendor of a Swiss Church

March 16, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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La Mise en Abîme (2013, used oil, metal) / All photos courtesy We Find Wildness

La Mise en Abîme (2013, used oil, metal) / All photos courtesy We Find Wildness

La Mise en Abîme (2013, used oil, metal) / All photos courtesy We Find Wildness

La Mise en Abîme (2013, used oil, metal) / All photos courtesy We Find Wildness

La Mise en Abîme (2013, used oil, metal) / All photos courtesy We Find Wildness

La Mise en Abîme (2013, used oil, metal) / All photos courtesy We Find Wildness

La Mise en Abîme (2013, used oil, metal) / All photos courtesy We Find Wildness

Created by Swiss artist Romain Crelier, La Mise en Abîme (an idiom that communicates the same thing as “a curveball,” but means, roughly, “to have put into an abyss”) was a visually arresting artwork installed on the floor of the Bellelay Abbey in Switzerland back in 2013. The piece is comprised of two shallow pools of used motor oil that function as mirrors, reflecting the architectural details of the surrounding interior. The crude juxtaposition of recycled oil and the impeccably preserved aesthetic of a 12th century church wasn’t lost on the artist who referred to the piece as “monochrome paintings using a despised substance.” You can see more photos on We Find Wildness. (via We Find Wildness, This Isn’t Happiness, thnx Kathy!)

 

 



History Photography

Lost Castle: The Crumbling Ruins of the Castle of Mesen

October 23, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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Located in a park near the center of Lede, Belgium, the Castle of Mesen dates back to the 17th century where it served as a home for various lords before a conversion to an industrial site. Throughout the 1800s the complex was used as a gin distillery, a tobacco factory, and a sugar refinery. In 1897 the castle was then sold to a religious order who constructed an impressive neo-gothic chapel and turned the entire facility into a boarding school.

Although it was still in use up until the 1960s, a tragic storm of abandonment, looting, and a failed attempt to designate the castle as a monument lead to a decision to demolish of the entire castle just a few years ago. Lucky for us, photographer Jan Stel of Past Glory managed to sneak inside and capture a few amazing shots before it disappears forever. The juxtaposition of the stained glass windows and decaying roof and sprawling foliage is especially striking. See more from this series here. (via Arch Atlas)

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Design

A 15th Century Cathedral Transformed into a Modern Bookstore

October 29, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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For many, reading a good book can be a religious experience, but this new bookstore in Zwolle, The Netherlands takes that idea to a whole new level. Architects BK. Architecten were tasked with converting this 15th century Dominican church into a modern bookstore with the addition of 700 square meters of shopping space. But there was one major catch: all the historical elements of the 547-year-old building including stained glass windows, pipe organ, ceiling paintings and expansive arches had to remain intact.

Incredibly, BK. Architecten managed to add three levels of retail space to the side wings of the church in a manner that the entire structure can one day be removed in order to restore the church to its original design. In addition only three colors of building materials were used to mimic the existing palette of the cathedral’s interior to further ensure that the bookstore would pay reverence to the original space.

Waanders in de Broeren opened earlier this summer and you can see many more views on the architect’s website. Photos by Joop van Putten and Hans Westerink. If you liked this you might also enjoy reading about a Walmart being converted into the largest single-story library in the United States. (via Arch Daily)

 

 



Design

New Video Depicts the Amazing Final Stages of Construction of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona

September 30, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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The foundation responsible for the construction of the famous Sagrada Família church in Barcelona recently released a video depicting what the final stages of construction will look like as nearly 150 years of building (and delays) finally wraps up in 2026. The breathtaking clip combines footage shot from a helicopter with computer-animated renderings to show what the basilica, designed by Antoni Gaudí, will look like. The structure is said to be “the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages.” Read more over on Co.Design. (via Design TAXI)

 

 



Design History Photography

The Floating Temple: How to Lift a Seven Million Pound, 112-year-old Building

May 17, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Something’s up in Provo, Utah and it weighs around seven million pounds. It’s the 112-year-old exterior of the Provo Tabernacle that was severely damaged in a 2010 fire but has since been saved by the LDS church so it can be converted into a temple. Engineers first gutted the damaged interior and then supported the exterior walls with special scaffolding as they dug down to create space for a two story basement, so in actuality the building hasn’t even moved. The entire structure is now on stilts some 40 feet in the air and from some angles appears to be floating above ground, such as in the first photograph above provided by Brian Hansen. Additional photos courtesy the LDS Newsroom.