A design for worship

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute


“...the truest way to an honest and inspiring architecture is through a sincere attempt to gain beauty in a simple way.”1) Talbot Hamlin

The work contained herein does not attempt to be a solution to church design problems. It is, rather, a step in the direction of design with a sound philosophical background, related to our present-day and anticipated needs.

The first purpose of this study is to relate the buildings to the people and their surroundings. In essence, this is architecture and city planning as one. The buildings of our cities must be related to their surroundings, they must be built with regard to the future, and must satisfy the emotions of the people. If these requirements are not fully met, our architecture and cities will continue to decay.

The second purpose of this study is to review the best and latest sources of information on ecclesiastical architecture, to analyze this information, and from the acquired knowledge to formulate a program for the design of a church which shall be a design for worship.

The resultant design is not intended to be the ultimate in church architecture, but to be a reference of direction in church architecture controlled by a philosophy which is the foundation of the design. Its basic principles strive toward a church for daily use, possessing an atmosphere suited to the use. This church will grow in size and will grow in the heart of the people as they realize the advantages of a variety of activities within the church. The result is a church to meet the daily needs of the congregation and those reached by its influence.

  1. Talbot Hamlin: Architecture, An Art For All Men, Columbia University Press, 1947, p. 244.