28 Sacred Spaces That Capture The Stunning Beauty Of Religious Architecture

These are the winners of the 2016 International Awards Program for Religious Art & Architecture.

It’s hard to pin down exactly what makes a space feel sacred. But walk through the hallowed passages of a majestic temple or kneel at the foot of an ancient tomb, and you may feel the sacred to be an almost palpable force.

For the past 38 years, Faith & Form magazine and the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture have hosted an annual awards program for architects and artists around the world who evoke this sacred feel in works of religious architecture and design.

For artists and architects, the task of evoking the divine through structures and shapes is a difficult one, said Michael J. Crosbie, editor-in-chief of Faith & Form.

“They have to provide space for a liturgical action, the collection of a congregation in a place to worship, and for people to be in communion through the expression of faith,” Crosbie told The Huffington Post.

On top of that, religious architecture typically reflects the traditions and forms of a particular faith and distinguishes itself in some way from the other buildings that surround it, he noted.

“The architecture of the sacred must transcend the everyday, in some way,” Crosbie said. “It must take us out of ourselves, make us part of something greater, must refresh the congregation in its belief and in its faith, and connect us to each other, and to something beyond all of us.”

Evoking this sense of transcendence is the architect’s “greatest challenge,” he added. “There isn’t a formula or a set of rules to follow about how it can be achieved.”

This year’s winners for the International Awards Program for Religious Art & Architecture capture the sacred in diverse ways. A panel of five independent judges ― comprised of architects, artists and religious leaders ― selected the winners, which feature a mixture art, architecture, unbuilt projects and student work. They are all either new projects or renovations of existing works, and roughly half were designed or created for sites outside of North America.

The award winners receive recognition of their work in the Faith & Form magazine and will also be honored at an awards presentation ceremony in May at the annual convention of the American Institute of Architects, Crosbie said.

View the 28 winners of the 2016 Faith & Form/IFRAA Religious Art and Architecture Award below:

Jumaa Mosque
Hufton Crow
John McAslan + Partners; Jumaa Mosque; Doha, Qatar; New Facilies; Photo: Hufton + Crow
Chapel of St. Ignatius
Nathan Kirkman
John Ronan Architects; Chapel of St. Ignatius; Chicago, Illinois; New Facilities; Photo: Nathan Kirkman
St. Patricks Cathedral
Whitney Cox
Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects; St. Patrick’s Cathedral; New York, New York; Restoration
Palm Beach Synagogue
Kim Sargent
Arthur Chabon Architect; Palm Beach Synagogue; Palm Beach, Florida; Liturgical/Interior Design
Mary As Prophet
B Cayce Ramey
Margaret Adams Parker; “Mary As Prophet”; Virginia Theological Seminary; Alexandria, Virginia; Visual Arts
Mysteries of the Rosary
Steve Maylone
Scott Parsons; “Mysteries of the Rosary”; Our Lady of Loreto » Foxfield, Colorado; Visual Arts
Cathedral of St. Thomas
Courtesy of Faith Form
Ranjit John Korah; Cathedral of St. Thomas; Cochin, Kerala, India; Student Work
Chapel of the Good Shepherd
Luka Markez
Robert Dolinar; Chapel of the Good Shepherd, Alojzij Šuštar Primary School; Ljubljana, Slovenia; New Facilities; Photo: Luca Markez
Totihue Chapel
Nico Saieh
Gonzalo Mardones Arquitectos; Totihue Chapel; Totihue, Chile; New Facilities; Photo: Nico Saieh
Al Warqa’a Mosque
Sadao Hotta
ibda design; Al Warqa’a Mosque; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; New Facilities; Photo: Sadao Hotta
Chinmaya Mission Austin
Paul Finkel/Piston Design
Miró Rivera Architects; Chinmaya Mission Austin; Austin, Texas; New Facilities; Photo: Paul Finkel / Piston Design
The Joyful Church
Seunghoon Yum
The Beck Group; The Joyful Church; Pohang, South Korea; New Facilities; Photo: Seunghoon Yum
St. Francis Chapel
Nicholas McWhirter
Stocker Hoesterey Montenegro Architects; St. Francis Chapel; Breckenridge, Texas; New Facilities; Photo: Nicholas McWhirter
Temple Israel of Hollywood
Eric Staudenmaier
Koning Eizenberg Architecture. Temple Israel of Hollywood; Los Angeles, California; Adaptive Reuse/Repurpose; Photo: Eric Staudenmaier
Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun Synagogue
Chris Cooper
FXFOWLE; Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun Synagogue; New York, New York; Restoration
St. Cecilia Church
Bruce T Martin Photography
Donham & Sweeney Architects; St. Cecilia Church; Boston, Massachusetts; Renovation
Knock Shrine Basilica
Peter Moloney
Wejchert Architects; Knock Basilica Interior Design; Knock, County Mayo, Ireland; Liturgical/Interior Design
Temple Adath
Tom Crane
Atkin Olshin Schade Architects; Temple Adath Israel; Merion Station, Pennsylvania; Liturgical/Interior Design
Sacred Heart Cathedral of Kericho
Edmund Sumner
John McAslan + Partners; Sacred Heart Cathedral of Kericho; Kericho, Kenya; Liturgical/Interior Design
8-Shaped Passage
Masaru Niimi
Shoji Oshio + UA architects; 8-Shaped Passage; Ueno, Tokyo, Japan; Sacred Landscape
St. Thomas More Font
RMA Photography
Dekker / Perich / Sabatini; Baptismal Font; St. Thomas More Catholic Church; Oceanside, California; Liturgical Furnishings
Pipe Organ
Sherman Chu
Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, Ltd.; Pipe Organ; St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church; Carmel Valley, California; Liturgical Furnishings
Torah Ark
Ken Gutmaker
Studio Bondy Architecture; Torah Ark, Bema, and Screen; Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School; Palo Alto, California; Liturgical Furnishings
Basilica de N.Senora de la Merced Façade Rehab
Courtesy of Faith Form
Eleftherios Piskitzis, Architect; Basilica de N.Senora de la Merced Façade Rehab; Madrid, Spain; Unbuilt Work
City of Spirits
Courtesy of Faith Form
Rafaela Paes; “City of Spirits”; Recife, Brazil; Student Work
Pop-Up Places of Worship
Courtesy of Faith Form
Lucas Boyd and Chad Greenlee; “Pop-Up Places of Worship”; Various Locations; Student Work
The Chapel of St. Adalbert
Courtesy of Faith Form
Filip Strzelecki; “The Chapel of St. Adalbert”; Fiszewo, Poland; Student Work
The Procession of the Souls
Travis Price
Travis Price Architects with The Catholic University of America; “The Procession of the Souls”; Swinford, County Mayo, Ireland; Student Work
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Before You Go

St. Katharine Drexel Chapel, New Orleans

2015 Religious Architecture Award Winners

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