This particular project was one of selecting a type of architectural subject to photograph. In order to build up an understanding of 'building typologies', which means buildings that have similarities in form or function. Such as religious buildings that have similar uses, purposes and aesthetic elements.
I was to chose from a list of building types that was provided, including examples such as;
And so on; after some deliberation I decided to choose religious building typologies, as it is a type of architecture that I have always been very interested by.
CONSIDERING WHERE TO PHOTOGRAPH:
My home town, Coventry, is very well-known (perhaps more locally in the midlands) for having three Church spires in the city centre that can be seen for miles. So knowing the intriguing and historic religious buildings that were local to me for my whole life is what has kept me interested in this typology.
Additionally, I very fortunately went on holiday to America during this summer break, and upon my visit to Florida was able to collate more modern and contemporary religious architecture; which was especially interesting to see and take note of.
Along with of course the religious infrastructure found in Dundee and other Scottish cities I have visited, I had already archived some very interesting pictures on my travels. However not enough variation and a lot of silhouetted buildings with skies as a focus and back-drop. So I still needed to find more buildings to photograph through the summer; making an excuse to go and explore my city some more.
100 PHOTOS OF RELIGIOUS ARCHITECTURE TYPOLOGIES
After photographing approximately 100 images, I edited them into square aspect ratios. Looking for the best angles and composition I had captured within each image. Some images of course are not the best they could be, but do offer perhaps more interesting contemporary religious design that I found equally as interesting as the more traditional and grand architecture.
Then following these 100 images, I narrowed them down to my 36 favourite images:
This extensive photographic task has led me to a more detailed understanding of religious architecture and the many features found. Such as the repeated use of christian spires or similarly mosque qubbas, symbolism surrounding this is presumably that of the building pointing to the heavens as people of the religion see it. A 'celestial and hopeful gesture' as the building reaches towards the sky; as well as further symbolism of strength as the shape can sometimes resemble that of a spear-head.
Many of the churches here are Gothic, especially the sand-stone coloured buildings of which I mostly found in Coventry. Gothic architecture aimed to make churches more inviting and considered beautiful as they had very large volumes and often long, colourful stained glass windows. Another noticeable feature of this Gothic architecture is that of its great height - again in referral to the spire and sometimes towers. Interestingly, Coventry Cathedral was actually bombed during The Blitz and its wooden roof burned down, destroying much of the interior and the windows. However the walls and spire still remain; making it hugely and widely visited. Especially because of the wooden cross that was discovered amongst the wooden ruins (the cross itself now having been moved to a nearby museum).
Continually, visiting America and taking note of the religious architecture was very interesting. Most of the buildings were very modern and contemporary, having a more commercially built feel. Such as a photo I captured of a large church known as 'The Rock Church'. The buildings were still relatively impressive in size and often had spires, yet they were much simpler and obviously built for the interior use rather than the earlier Gothic approach of older churches in the UK.
Interestingly, the difference in building topology in America could be down to a response to people's ever-changing and evolving beliefs - people's views in more modern USA would be quite different to those in medieval England; and the buildings reflect this. As I said, modern churches may be built for practicality of space and so on, rather than having extravagant builds with large, yet impressive, voids.
Functionality is another aspect of religious architecture, such as stained glass being used for what was believed to be 'heavenly light', tall steeples being landmarks for people to recognise nearby civilisation and areas including the chancel and pulpit having their own specific purposes. This of course changes over time, as people no longer need the large steeple to recognise that someone was approaching a city - we now have phones or maps to use.
Changing times has meant that architecture changes with it, adapting to new methods, technologies and attitudes. Of course however, still valuing the old, traditional architecture that was of its time.