Back to basics : rethinking the motives behind Charismatic Church architecture

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Roome, Jason
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
McConchie, Graeme
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
church architecture
Ferry Road (Christchurch, N.Z.)
post 2012 earthquake
Pentecostal Charismatic churches
Phillipstown (N.Z.)
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Roome, J. (2012). Back to basics: Rethinking the motives behind Charismatic Church architecture. A research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional), Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
RESEARCH QUESTION: Should the architecture of church be utilitarian in nature or is there a deeper value to be found in an uplifting building tailored to the needs of a community? This research project looks at the current trend of the architecture of Charismatic churches, with its disregard for the significance of the built environment, and attempts to uncover a set of design principles and a built outcome which are theologically grounded and relate to the needs of people. The subject of the design is a congregation in Christchurch with an earthquake damaged building. The values established within the document have been reached through literary research, discussions with theologians and pastors, and a study of the historical development of Christian church architecture. The benchmark against which all research has been evaluated is the church’s set of doctrines. The rejection of ornament and beauty for an inner faith, as instigated through the Protestant Reformation, has been found to be an insubstantial display of the full nature of God. The design takes on a holistic approach in response to an understanding of the human nature, created by God, with its desires. These desires are not only for beauty but love, contemplation, play. The history of ecclesiastical buildings shows the time’s doctrines and fashions. Two of the most important precedents being the Jewish Temple, and the synagogues displaying an integration with the everyday. Architecture speaks, whether one intends it or not. A church building can and should be used as a minister, not only for the congregation but to all that might use it or wander past it. It should speak of the complete nature of God, which is both transcendent and immanent, and the heart of the church to love and care for the community. RESEARCH PROBLEM: Catholicism has published a vast sum of information regarding the architecture, and issues that relate to the architecture of the Catholic Church. The reformed churches have a variety of publications but generally are limited to the institutional denominations within the faith. Pentecostal and Charismatic beliefs regarding architecture represent among the lowest proportion of explicit information regarding a denomination’s view and requirements for architecture. This is likely due to the lower emphasis placed on the theological value and ability of architecture to inform part of the spiritual development of believers and the Christian impact on the community. Craig Bartholomew asserts that there are many literary descriptions of the Charismatic Christian importance of nature but far fewer regarding place and the environment of human life. Site: 150 Ferry Road, Phillipstown, Christchurch.
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