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The most spectacular churches of the world

Hamburg, Dec 19, 2011 - The tradition of celebrating Christmas in church has not changed, but the building have. Architects are redefining our urban landscape and not stopping short at sacred buildings. Over the last decade, small and modern churches have gained popularity across the world – from Austria to Japan to the Ivory Coast.

Churches traditionally feature a steeple, nave and cross. But these new churches are breaking away from this cliché. Religion and its rites remain the same; yet the appearance of our society’s places of worship is changing rapidly.

The top 10 most spectacular modern churches worldwide were chosen by a committee of building experts from Emporis. The jury valued novel design, original materials and groundbreaking building techniques. Only churches built after 2000 were judged by the jury.

One such building incorporating revolutionary craftsmanship is the Martin Luther Church in Hainburg, Austria. Special shipbuilding technology was used for the roof and bell tower. The roof, made of curved steel plates weighing 23 tones, was assembled at a wharf on the Baltic Sea.

The shimmering Church of the Holy Cross in Jyllinge, Denmark, is made of glass fibre composites. Situated near the fjord and surrounded by nature, it stands in contrast to its surroundings. From far, it appears like a hovering UFO.

Situated on a small plot in Tokyo, Japan, the Harajuku Church is surrounded by bustling city life. The exterior is inspired by the mineral, dry landscape of Palestine – it is like the Holy Land in an Asian metropolis. On the inside, the space and light create a sanctuary in the noisy city.

Churches are not merely holy places where we gather every year to celebrate Christmas. Perhaps as a way of drawing in the crowds, these ten spectacular churches are by architects who have broken out of the norm – transforming churches into modern works of art.