5 Features of Church Architecture

Just as all things, church architecture has made some big leaps throughout the centuries. Some things, though, remain classic in both their function and their design. When you’re discussing your church design ideas with your design-build firm, it’s up to you and your church to decide how these 5 areas will function and look in your new building:

  • The baptistery functions as the space where baptisms are performed. If your church does immersion baptisms, you’ll need to build in a special pool area, either in the church or close to the church. If your church focus on baptisms that just involve pouring water on the head, you’ll need to consider whether or not you want this done in a specially designed area.
  • The steeple serves 3 purposes. Two are aesthetic. First, it draws the lines of the church and the eye of the view upwards towards heaven. Second, it provides a normally short, one-story building with some height and elegance. Finally, steeples function as a type of lighthouse- they are often the tallest building in a town and serve as a landmark to help people find the church.
  • The church bells have served many purposes throughout time. First and foremost, they function to tell the people of the town that it is time to gather for worship. They have also served as warning bells, such as if there is an approaching storm or a fire has started. Modern church bells sometimes aren’t bells at all, but the sound of bells being played through speakers set up in the steeple.
  • Stained glass windows became popular in the 12th century and can still be seen in modern, newly-built churches. These are also multi-functional. They let in beautiful light to a church, symbolizing “holy” or “heavenly” light. They also present important facts or stories from the bible in picture form, for those who are unable to read or prefer their stories with an illustration.
  • Finally, decisions need to be made about the cross’ function in your church. While most Catholics prefer the crucifix, which depicts Jesus on the cross, Protestant churches usually opt for a bare cross. In either case, your architecture firm will need to know where you would like these pieces placed, especially if the cross is part of the exterior architecture in the form of a statue or large display piece. This allows the firm to plan placement of the building with your needs in mind.

No matter where you stand on these topics, Vanman Architects and Builders can help you design and build the church of your dreams.