2018 International Awards Program for Religious Art & Architecture

Volume 51, Issue 4 :: Michael J. Crosbie, Ph.D., FAIA

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A total of 127 Submissions to the awards program this year represented an increase of about 7 percent over the number of last year’s entrants—good news indeed.

One thing that impressed this year’s awards jury were considerations about how designs related to the larger community, attempting to address the need and forge connections between the faith community and the context. These projects told a story about how the design of the worship environment was influenced by the community. This is a continuation of a trend that jury members have commented on over the past few years.

2018 Jury

The 2018 Faith & Form/ID Religious Art and Architecture Awards Jury, left to right: the Reverend W. Joseph Mann (clergy and jury chair); Kathleen Lane (architect); Christine Reinhard (liturgical designer); Margaret Adams Parker (artist); Stephen C. Pickard (architect).

The jury hoped to see more adaptive re-use/re-purpose entries (only two were submitted this year, but one became an award winner). The number of renovations or restorations submitted was robust: 15 entries out of a total 56 submitted to the Religious Architecture category. The jurors noted some excellent examples of older worship environments sensitively rejuvenated or reinvented. The absence of megachurches submitted might indicate a decline in their construction. The jury commented that many designs were sensitive in their response to human scale.

The jury lamented the dearth of Religious Art entries—only 11 were submitted. Jurors speculated that the amount of work in this category is falling off, or perhaps the awards program needs to raise its profile in the religious art community. Jury members suggested that architects and designers entering built work encourage artists involved in these projects to submit in the Religious Art category. Likewise, architects with projects with a landscape design separate from the architecture should urge that those sacred landscapes be entered (there were no winners in the Sacred Landscape category).

Among winning projects, the jury members detected two strong trends: the preference for natural materials in worship environments, and inventive design solutions to address tight budgets. Several projects used simple materials in creative ways to generate cutting-edge designs (such as the “The Tent of Meeting” on page 34 and the “Prayer Space” on page 35). Jurors were also encouraged by the large number of entries in the Unbuilt and Student Work categories (42, which yielded nine award winners). They found many student projects to be intelligent, searching, and well researched in pushing the frontiers of new kinds of sacred space.

The 2019 awards program opens for submissions (at faithandformawards.com) on April 1, 2019.

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