Atmosphere analysis and creating the ethereal in the public scale

As I’ve been developing my atmospheric analysis, looking the atmospheric qualities of the historic church and contrasting that with the qualities that remain or have been created in the contemporary churches in the parish I’ve begun to understand which qualities are intrinsic in the church as a typology. From my analysis I’ve ascertained the key qualities required to enable a church to be a church are verticality, focal lighting and privacy. These qualities are achieved whilst still enabling the spaces to be fairly multifunctional. However in contrast with the historic church the atmospheric qualities have been much reduced, the ethereal acoustics from sound reflection and reverberance, diffused lighting, scale of self to space are lacking, reducing the sense of the ethereal which is known in historic churches.


In some senses this is correct, and in line with the reduction in church power over the past centuries. The majesty of the church is no-longer used to ascertain it’s power over its congregation. In order for these churches to be functional and profitable during the week and through the non-religious calendar months they need to have a level of practicality which is often incompatible with the traditional form of the church. Therefore within my proposal I want to improve the practicality of the historic church to respond to the needs of the community whilst in parallel enhancing the atmospheres of the contemporary churches. Both strategies are intended to re-centre the church within the community through function and quality of space.


Beyond this I’ve been thinking about how this can work within the liturgical calendar? Can these qualities be taken out of the churches and be utilised as a tool to promote the church as a community amenity on the public scale, reinforcing the network between the churches? How can this work and how often should it be done?

Leave a Reply