Sacred Places Summer 2022 - Page 20

Church of Luoyuan Fuzhou City , Luoyuan County , China
• INUCE • Dirk U . Moench , architect
Luoyuan is a town on the coast of Fujian , a Chinese province known for tea production , its Hakka minority , and the ring-shaped vernacular architecture known as Tulou . Since the 1990s it has grown from a hamlet to a city of 200,000 people . The program for this project included service venues for all generations , workstations , classrooms , a book-café , and a teahouse . The challenging mandate required that architects integrate a mixed-use-building with the dignity of a place of worship , and retain a sense of Christian tradition and Chinese local authenticity .
The sanctuary offers refuge from the torments of a changing world , a place to find the peace to heal . The design evokes formal characteristics local believers would be familiar with , including elements of the vernacular Tulou , with its concentric organization around a courtyard with tea pavilion , and features of the adjacent countryside .
As a meditative counterpoint to the courtyard ’ s communitarian atmosphere , the service hall represents a space of seclusion for the individual believer . Enclosed by a double facade featuring 100,000 individual pieces of blue-colored glass , the sanctuary embraces the interests of a younger generation eager to re-interpret Chinese traditions within their contemporary context .
“ The glass is expertly chosen and carefully positioned on the wall to create the maximum effect of color gradations . It is often hard to make a design look random , so this interior is no small feat . The space is dazzling , achieved with simplicity of form and material .”
Shikai / INUCE
Temple Akiba Renovation Culver City , California
• Herman Coliver Locus Architecture
In Judaism , physical and temporal thresholds are particularly significant , marking the connection and separation between the everyday and the sacred .
An asphalt driveway along a busy street served as the pedestrian path to the Temple Akiba ’ s original front door . Before , the hexagonal but windowless sanctuary was devoid of light and spirit . The architect was tasked with creating a welcoming and ceremonial path to the front door , an inviting outdoor gathering space and a lobby and sanctuary imbued with meaning . The synagogue ’ s senior rabbi dreamed of spaces filled with “ meditative exuberance .”
Because the synagogue is located on a boulevard roaring with passing cars and trucks , it was important to shield outdoor circulation and gathering spaces from traffic noise and the view of vehicles . A series of walls , a vertical fountain , and a layered entry sequence provide the space and time to shift one ’ s thoughts away from the quotidian transactions of daily life .
In Temple Akiba ’ s renovated sanctuary , the congregation is surrounded by a translucent veil , intimating a sacred community . The space between the translucent surround , evocative of a prayer shawl , and the hexagonal perimeter , with its new , projecting , colored windows , is a liminal space glowing with ever-changing light .
“ This project transformed a rather dull , drab , dark box into a very animated and iconic form that introduces light into a spiritual place for the community . The amount of daylight is wonderful . It ’ s a consistent renovation in terms of the use of light and color .”
Emily Hagopian