Designing one-flat church as small scale community space in densely populated urban environment to perform both sacred and contemporary functions

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Designing one-flat church as small scale community space in densely populated urban environment to perform both sacred and contemporary functions

 

Author: Poon, Shek Wing Louis
Title: Designing one-flat church as small scale community space in densely populated urban environment to perform both sacred and contemporary functions
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2013
Subject: Church architecture -- China -- Hong Kong
Architecture and religion.
Church decoration and ornament.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Design
Pages: xxiii, 505 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2639023
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7191
Abstract: This research is based on the scenario in the context of Hong Kong, in which church has been built in densely populated urban environment restricted in flat space. The research objectives were: 1) firstly to investigate the relationship between theology and spatial design in Hong Kong Protestant church; 2) secondly, to analyse the issue of the lack of design with respect to sacred identity in the church of Hong Kong that leads to an unappealing and non-sacred appearance of Protestant church; 3) and finally, to establish theoretical standpoints on designing sacred space with contemporary quality without surrendering of the sacred identity. The aims of the research were to understand the influence of secularisation to the rationale of church design in the context of these research objectives and to generate an appropriate identity of church with a theoretical standpoint to serve the contemporary community effectively. In order to meet these objectives, the study comprised four areas. 1) The first area was the largely qualitative site observations of 171 churches, which provided comparative figures for the study of churches incorporated with design elements or no design elements. 2) The second area was a qualitative approach, centered on semi-structured interviews of 15 pastors and professors. 3) The third area was the conduction of visual simulation workshop with clergy and laymen to understand their expectation on ideal church design. 4) Finally, there was a case study of a church designed by the researcher taken into the account of the users' perspectives from initial research stage to the completion of design. This study endeavours to facilitate church design with the focus on the immanence quality instead of the transcendence representation in order to encounter the different spatial limitations in church design. It is expected, consequently, that traditional quality will be treasured by the transformation of traditional elements into contemporary representation, such as the use of symbolic meanings. In Hong Kong approximately 775 one-flat churches, which are 66% of the total number of Protestant churches, are located in different layers of vertical space within this vertical city; they function as scattered small-scale community spaces. These sites contain both the sacred and the secular activities as they provide social services during weekdays. The practical function has overridden the symbolic expression. This community approach presents an unbalanced representation between the sacred and the secular uses. Even though church leaders from the high-budgeted churches build their new churches by employing professional designers, they have created churches merely releasing contemporary senses but the sacred quality is neglected. When churches provide social services in the same limited space, the identity of church is surrendered to the need of the social community.

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