Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Luoyuan Protestant Church in China by INUCE Architecture
November 1st, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: INUCE Architecture
Luoyuan is a fast growing city by the coast of Fujian, a Chinese province famous for its tea production on terraced plantations, its Hakka ethnic minority and their distinct ring – shaped residential architecture, the so called Fujian-Tulou.
Presently, the rural areas in Fujian are undergoing a dramatic process of urbanization, quickly washing away the vernacular settlements with their intense community life. Instead, giant residential high rise neighborhoods with isolated apartment units are built – a process resulting in generic cities without relation to local heritage.
The Christian community of Luoyuan, composed of people of Hakka background, is building a new church with community facilities in the town’s recently planned residential district. Following the service-oriented model of Asian “Urban Churches”, intending to cater specifically for the needs of young parents with children expected to live in the area, a differentiated program was developed that includes service venues as well as community facilities. The challenges of this project lie in two aspects: Firstly, to integrate complex everyday requirements of a community center with the dignified presence of a place of worship. Secondly, to retain a sense of tradition and authenticity in an increasingly anonymous urban environment.
The adopted design for Luoyuan Church represents a unifying solution to those challenges: It employs its basic organization principle from the Fujian-Tulou, having the churches’ facilities orbit around an enclosed courtyard, while a Garden Chapel in its midst allows for informal contemplation. The resulting building forms an embracing gesture inspiring religious and historical interpretations. It revives the traditional community life formerly inherent in the local vernacular architecture, creating a place where believers feel at home with their Christian fellows, a protected environment for their children to learn and play safely.
At night Luoyuan Church reveals its second nature: The main service hall is enclosed by a double skin facade composed of stained-glass, reinterpreting this traditional Christian church element on a monumental scale. Once completed, it will constitute the largest stained-glass church façade in Asia and one of the largest in the world with over 1400sqm of stained glass. It will be artificially lit up from its central void during night time, thus illuminating the building both inwards and outwards as a shining symbol of hope.
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