This edited volume, Modern Architecture and the Sacred, presents a timely reappraisal of the manifold engagements that modern architecture has had with 'the sacred'.
It comprises fourteen individual chapters arranged in three thematic sections – Beginnings and Transformations of the Modern Sacred; Buildings for Modern Worship; and Semi-Sacred Settings in the Cultural Topography of Modernity. The first interprets the intellectual and artistic roots of modern ideas of the sacred in the post-Enlightenment period and tracks the transformation of these in architecture over time. The second studies the ways in which organized religion responded to the challenges of the new modern self-understanding, and then the third investigates the ways that abstract modern notions of the sacred have been embodied in the ersatz sacred contexts of theatres, galleries, memorials and museums.
While centring on Western architecture during the decisive period of the first half of the 20th century – a time that takes in the early musings on spirituality by some of the avant-garde in defiance of Sachlichkeit and the machine aesthetic – the volume also considers the many-varied appropriations of sacrality that architects have made up to the present day, and also in social and cultural contexts beyond the West.