Combo Competitions is back with FAITH! The international ideas competition was based on the concept that learning about different religions and belief systems should be about respectful mutual understanding and an enriching experience -- not one that is ostracizing.
Entrants had a straightforward task: design a London-based house of worship for any religion, but with a little extra something. This extra element must be used for informing and educating people who are interested in learning more about the house of worship's specific religion.
Three winners and three honorable mentions were announced:
- 1st prize: CAMLEY STREET SYLVAN CHAPEL by PAUL COHOON
- 2nd prize: FAITH THAT THE SKY IS NOT FALLING by W. ALLEN ZIMMERMAN and MARIE WASTIAU
- 3rd prize: YOU ARE HERE by FELICITY BARBUR and EDWARD CROOKS
- Honorable Mention: RUSSELL'S TEAPOT by ADAM HEWGILL and LOUISE CLAEYS
- Honorable Mention: ST. MARTINS CHURCH by RORY ALLEN and TONY LEES
- Honorable Mention: SOAKING PRAYER IN YEAR 2100 by SIMONET NOE
Check 'em out below.
1st prize: CAMLEY STREET SYLVAN CHAPEL BY PAUL COHOON
Camley Street Sylvan Chapel
a non-denominational chapel for sharing spirituality
"Nature and Religion: Man is a creature of nature. The only certainty of life is birth and death. Religion is often regarded as a tool for understanding and appreciating the mortality of man; its temporal existence, defined by highs and lows, growth and decline, stasis and metamorphosis. Faith allows a framework for accepting and negotiating these existential characteristics, and provides guidance for harmonious co-existence between men, the physical world and the metaphysical realm beyond.
Similarly, these attributes may all be witnessed in nature. The diurnal, seasonal, and life cycles of flora and fauna and the mutual dependence necessary for survival and propagation, parallel the moral and existential teachings of religion. Since the dawn of the industrial revolution and resulting rampant urbanization, man’s connection to nature has been depleted. As beings living in cities, our visceral and physical appreciation of the cycles, fragility, and interdependence of the natural world - and thereby the metaphysical lessons it provides – has been lost."
Nature and Experience: "Camley Street Sylvan Chapel is an insertion of nature into the city. Composed of a series of pavilions within a garden (a city within nature within the city), the architecture provides a framework for orienting the senses to the intricacies of nature. Pathways, pockets, and portals act as a tool for appreciating nature; both in its ferocity as an unrestricted mass (encircling the site), to the fragility of nature as a single object, akin to a piece of art (as in the compositions of nature framed within the chapel spaces).
The changing daylight and seasonal variations direct patron’s appreciation to the temporal and continuous metamorphosis of nature, and life. The experience is multi-sensory; visual, haptic, aural, visceral and therapeutic. The gardens consistently change; in colour, abundance, smell, and feel. The materials of the exterior are natural and local; weathering pine, charred timber, slate and stacked limestone. Each takes on a rich patina within the life cycle of the complex, demonstrating growth, age, and wisdom."
Nature and Architecture: "The various pavilions allow private reflection in intimate spaces, or group worship and celebration in exterior and interior spaces. An educational and exhibition centre fronts the complex, intending to demonstrate how (and how similarly) various religions refer to, and draw inspiration from nature. A genealogical library in rich red cherry timber allows study of familial history.
The private chapel is formed of concrete pillars poured within a boardwork of knotty timber slats, becoming a durable ‘ruin’ of a forest. An oculus in the ceiling traces the passage of a day. The ‘service bar’ to the west supports the functions of the community room and chapels, and a flat above allows for visiting academics to live in residency – to study and educate about the similarities in religions and nature."
Nature and Memory: "The growth, change, and aging of the garden complex invites memories of the users to be imbued within the architecture. The spaces themselves become mnemonic devices for recalling past hardships, pain, healing, and celebration."
2nd prize: FAITH THAT THE SKY IS NOT FALLING by W. ALLEN ZIMMERMAN and MARIE WASTIAU
FAITH THAT THE SKY IS NOT FALLING (the personal sanctuary)
"Concept: A morphology of personal sanctuaries for the reinforcement of the belief that no matter how dire the situation, it’s all going to be ok.
Context: An urban peninsula situated in the Grand Union Canal Basin with an area of ca. 1100 m2, located to the north of Camley Street Natural Park, and between the elevated rail tracks of St. Pancras Station to the west and the latest new development of King’s Cross to the east.
Never alone, always together:
It’s great to be together, but in the city, aren’t we always together?
Are we together too much?
When an individual wishes to escape back into oneself for a moment... and be spiritual... Where can we go?
Where in the city can we go to get alone? Our smartphone? Our headphones? Is this our alone time in the city? Is this spirituality?"
Architecture: "The architecture attempts to create a space for personal spirituality in the city. An unrecognizable form is applied to awaken the curiosity of visitor and passerby alike. It is a place that is raw and real, yet uplifting. It is a spirituality one can see, touch and feel. An escape not into the outer dimensions of imagined worlds. But, rather an escape back to the essence of our own reality. Light and dark. Open and closed. Infinite and finite. Primitive, yet profound."
"Under. Twelve personal sanctuaries are accessible at ground level, covered by the hovering public platform above. The shaft of each personal sanctuary frames a fragment of the ever-changing sky above, and allows for daylight to filter deep down into the otherwise dark void.
Above. The public platform is suspended above ground level in order to form a spatial break with the surroundings and is accessible only by existing public stairs. Due to its relatively small scale, the platform can be described as an intimate public place, serving as an introduction to the personal sanctuaries below.
House Rules. The sanctuary shafts may be climbed. Graffiti on the blank concrete body is welcome. And, jumping off the platform edge is not frowned upon. The architecture is integrated into the existing urban fabric but rebels against the tightness of the thread.
In closing: It’s not about faith in a God or a religion. Rather, it’s about having faith in oneself. For if the sky is indeed not falling, neither are you."
3rd prize: YOU ARE HERE by FELICITY BARBUR and EDWARD CROOKS
"You Are Here proposes the communication and personal interpretation of faith as the predominant factors in the practice of religion. Dismissing the permanence of a built structure, the proposal uses a hot air balloon as a tool to broadcast, collate and disseminate ideas to both a local and global audience.
"Adopting the culturally relevant symbol of the Google pin, the proposal is made universally recognisable, enabling it to collect personal interpretations of faith, transmitted globally through the ceremonial release of the balloon to a new site."
"Broadcasting a culturally relevant symbol with a deeply personal interpretation of faith, the project not only reacts to 21st century society, but acts as globally-communicating cultural arbiter to inform the ever-changing notions of faith."
All images courtesy of Combo Competitions.
For the Honorable Mentions, click through the thumbnails below.
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