arXitecture

WHY  DO  WE  BUILD?

A THOUGHT PROVOKING PRESENTATION BY LESLIE BARKER


FOR WORSHIP

Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves. Gen.11v4

Even before buildings were erected for weather protection, while people lived in caves, places were set apart for worship - the sacred grove, or a special rock.

Later other places were set apart by their design, such as megalithic stone circles, or a cross denoting a meeting place for Christian worship before church buildings were erected.

Ancient Greek temples, the great cathedrals of medieval Europe, the Moghul mosques and Hindu temples of India, and the wooden shrines of Japan, representing many of the world's finest buildings, were designed for worship and testify to man's spiritual nature.

There can be no doubt that man is something more than the animals, that he is a religious being with more than just a physical existence. We are spiritual beings; our buildings and even more so our activities demonstrate this truth. We are searching for the ultimate experience, for inner peace in a troubled world, for release from the cycle of reincarnation - for eternal life in paradise.

 

FOR DEFENCE

Solomon built fortified cities, with walls and with gates and bars. 2Chron.8v5

It has always been a troubled world, and another prime reason for building has been for defence, or to hold others in suppression.

We think of historic castles and walled towns; but today every building is built for defence with controlled entries, window locks, and burglar alarms. There are gated private estates with security cameras, and housing estates and city slums where no-one ventures out for fear of crime.

We all want personal and material security, but to varying degrees we all deny this to others. In spiritual language all have sinned, all have negative karma. Everyone falls short of their own standards, let alone any absolute or universal ones.

So today's built environment, the protected enclaves of the rich and powerful, and the slums across the world where the poor are denied equal opportunities and access to the good things of life, both testify to man's inhumanity to man - our inherent sinfulness.

 

 

 WHY DO WE BUILD?

FOR WORSHIP AND DEFENCE

 


MANKIND'S SPIRITUAL AND SINFUL NATURE

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom.3v23

These two aspects of man's nature, his spirituality and sinfulness, are linked in the religion of every culture. The Hindu strives to do good to be reincarnated at a higher level; the Moslem attempts to get his good deeds to outweigh his bad deeds; humanists believe man is inherently good, yet they too fall below their own standards.

The built environment reflects man's spiritual and sinful nature. The Parthenon in Athens, though one of the finest buildings in the world reflects both; a place for worship but set within a defended citadel - like many walled monasteries across the world, from St.Mary's Abbey in York, England, to the Cetatuia Monastery over-looking Iasi in Romania.

Architects (and clients!) tend to misuse their creative powers by imposing their own ideas on others, building monuments to themselves or for illustration in glossy magazines.

Christians believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin; and to bring reconciliation, the restoration of good relationships, not only between us individually and a personal God, but between ourselves, between designers and users, between peoples and nations, and also between us and our environment.

ARCHITECTURE: A CHRISTIAN APPROACH

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Ps.127v1

What Christians do is in response to God's love in their lives, for salvation received - not a means of earning or seeking it.

Christians were amongst the first to build hospitals and schools open to all, and it was Christians in 19th century Britain who pioneered decent affordable housing for the working classes.

Alexander Greek Thomson worked out a Christian approach to architecture valid for 19th century Glasgow.

Now as we are well into the second millennium since the birth of Jesus Christ the Founder of Christianity, will you seek a Christian approach to architecture valid for today? - an architecture which is not only a science and an art, but a service, expressing God's love, for the equal benefit of all mankind.

The righteous care about justice for the poor. Prov.29v7

 

 

There are several ways you can respond
Return to Lifestyle for the other articles
Go on to
A Christian Approach to Architecture
or           The Bible on Building

home

architecture

       ethics

To comment or offer contributions email

editor@arxitecture.org.uk

 

Thank you for visiting the arXitecture website - please call again