Anticipation of Contemporary Sacred Buildings - New Directions in Designing Semantic Architecture

Anna Maria Wierzbicka


Architecture, particularly sacral architecture, has always been an answer to the transcendent needs of humans of a given era. For today's humans, order is only an element of the matter. The religious scholar Charles Taylor, when describing the contemporary world, used a reverse version of this concept - a >disenchanted world<. Contemporary religiousness is a radical departure of humans from the cosmos. A man, also in the religious sphere, emphasises the individual and private nature of experiencing the sacred, which is unquestionably important for contemporary creators of sacral spaces. The analysis of sacral constructions in Europe within the last 20 years clearly shows that spaces which particularly stand out are those used for individual prayer, rather than liturgy of the community of believers. This is probably caused by the needs of the contemporary human, who has a new, more individualised way to pursue happiness, as well as by loosening of certain bonds and common ways of living. At the same time, facilities intended for group ceremonies are also created. Lukas Feiresiss, in the book entitled: "Closer to God", divides the latest sacred projects around the world into three groups: "Silent Prayer", "Living Worship", "Amazing Grace". However, scientific publications mostly present small projects for individual prayer and mostly for contemplation. This individualisation is reflected in the quiet places – small chapels. It is difficult to say that it is a common tendency; surely works of contemporary sacral architecture are created that are designed for the community of believers. However, the formation of many places of quiet or focus within the last dozen or so years is a new phenomenon. An aspect of this phenomenon is also interesting from the point of view of symbols used in such places. In the age of continuous information flow, quiet and individual prayer constitute opportunities to enter the space of the sacred. Contemporary small forms of quiet reflection indicate various trends; the semantic aspect of these forms is the key to architectural criticism. Due to the a priori nature of phenomena related to symbols, this layer remains unchanged. When describing symbols of places of quiet reflection, the symbols used should be described: gateways, nave and aisles, stair vaults, circles, arches of the heavens, and apses. All these elements form unique sequences of form, at the same time referring to cosmological symbolism. Contemporary sacred architecture is characterised by many extreme stylistic directions. In spite of the above, architects in their creative work reach for the original patterns – semantic archetypes, and all the aforementioned projects are saturated with symbols of the cosmological order.
Author Anna Maria Wierzbicka (FA)
Anna Maria Wierzbicka,,
- Faculty of Architecture
Journal seriesIOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, ISSN 1757-8981, e-ISSN 1757-899X
Issue year2019
Publication size in sheets0.5
ConferenceWorld Multidisciplinary Civil Engineering-Architecture-Urban Planning Symposium (WMCAUS), 18-06-2018 - 22-06-2018, Prague, Czechy
Keywords in Polishbudownictwo sakralne
Keywords in Englishbuilding, sacral architecture
Languageen angielski
Wierzbicka_2019_IOP_Conf._Ser.__Mater._Sci._Eng._471_082061-1.pdf 789.79 KB
Score (nominal)5
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 5.0, 25-02-2020, ArticleFromConference
Publication indicators WoS Citations = 0; Scopus Citations = 0
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