Who can deny the artistic status of Stonehenge, the Parthenon, Chartres, Ronchamp or Brasília’s cathedral? There is an intimate relationship of mutual inspiration and appreciation between Architecture and Religion, an almost symbiosis that has revealed itself to be fruitful both today and in the past.
This relationship is timeless. It has crossed History and withstood modern times, untouched. Side by side with industrial architecture, funtional housing and the prototypes of the international style, modern religious buildings of the same era are, after all, different.
As opposed to secular architecture, religious architecture's mysticism seem to hold the key that brings it closer to Art, perhaps because it has a meaning that is lacking in common architecture. The construction of any religious building is an opportunity to question and reinvent architecture and should, therefore, be the target of special attention.
A fine example of this would be the recently built Viikki church, which is located near Helsinki University's campus, in the east side of the city, and is part of a wider urban design. The way the project was approached, from the start, was interesting and began with an invitation from Helsinki's parish to JKMM architectural studio, that considered the project to be an opportunity to develop an urban area with a capacity to house 13 000 people.
Actually, it is quite common in Scandinavian countries, for churches to work as public places, as well as religious, gathering the entire surrounding comunity. Nevertheless, the holy characteristics of the buildings remain intact. And so Viiki church was built, opening its wide windows and wooden surfaces to the outside landscape and the city. The zenithal light, the altar and the cross remind us of its holliness, while the rest is purely design - exquisite design, as it seems.
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