Formed and finished in raw concrete in the sort-of shape of a cross, the recently constructed RW Concrete Church in Byeollae, South Korea strikes quite a profile. Nameless Architects designed this grayscale house of worship with the aim of evoking "a feeling, not of a city already completed, but a building on a new landscape," specifically in the landscape of a newly developed district just northeast of Seoul, but in archispeak, "somewhere between nature and artificiality, or between creation and extinction." If this rough-hewn structure does indeed embody the core of human drama in such a fashion, all the better for its soul-saving mission.
Though it foregoes ornate, overly symbolic embellishments, the church still has a kind of salvation-focused internal logic to it. Overall, its bare solidity is meant to to stand "as a metaphor for religious values that are not easily changed in an era of unpredictability," and that starts at the ground floor lobby. The front entrance opens onto an "empty concrete yard" kept purposefully dim. By the time parishioners have gotten used to the dark, they'll have ascended a closed staircase to the third-floor, but not before passing through the open, bright cantilevered section, "a physical as well as spiritual transition that connects daily life with religion."
The chapel is a large, cavernous room lit by clerestory windows that rises on a slope away from the pulpit, "evoking the feeling of attending a worship service on a low hill." As with other high-concept contemporary churches across the globe, it's nice to see embellishment passed over in favor of relative simplicity. If nothing else, it should stand in stark contrast to some of the wilder projects planned around Seoul.
· Divine Interventions: Reinforced Concrete Cantilevers Activate Church Architecture [Architizer]
· All churches coverage [Curbed National]
· All Seoul coverage [Curbed National]