At last count, the number of people who claim no religious affiliation despite professing a belief in God was growing even as churches in the United States lost members by the thousands each year. This trend toward an individualistic, personal belief system is reflected in new synagogues, chapels, mosques, and nondenominational "worship" places, which find some middle ground between the elaborate, awe-inducing cathedrals of the Gothic era and the bland arena architecture of today's mega-churches. These new-wave divine spaces integrate anything-but-sacred architectural elements like plastic and cardboard with wood and glass to create, quite literally, more transparency: They are open to the passersby outside as much as the higher power above, relying on space and light to communicate what Le Corbusier called "the ineffable." Here are 8 of our favorite houses of the holy.
8 Places Where Old-Time Religion Is Getting a Sexy New Look
Bow your head to faith's newest evangelist: contemporary architecture.
Parish Church of Solace
This summer, the architectural duo Vicens + Ramos finished a church in Córdoba, Spain, that used a skylight as its steeple and bell tower; the curved ceiling then diffuses the light into an interior glow. Spanish artists then custom-made contemporary altars, built interior sculptures, and painted the ceiling for a space that fuses futuristic minimalism with a handmade touch.
Photo: Courtesy of Parish Church of Solace