"Powerful demonstration of architecture at its best" says commenter


In this week’s comments update, readers are discussing a selection of brutalist and modernist churches captured by photographer Jamie McGregor Smith in his book Sacred Modernity.

With 139 photographs of 100 churches, McGregor Smith created the book to showcase the sculptural and unique forms of some of the churches built across Europe in the post-war period.

Sacred Modernity showcases “unique beauty and architectural innovation” of brutalist churches

“Powerful demonstration of architecture at its best”

Readers were divided in their reactions.

“Awesome,” wrote JZ. “When the church leads with adventurous designs, rather than cheap regurgitation, you get powerful, inspirational results.”

“Some really fantastically sculptural buildings with awe-inspiring and exciting interior spaces,” agreed Alfred Hitchcock. “Architects and engineers working in harmony (before we start worrying about the carbon emissions from the concrete production!)” they added.

Puzzello, meanwhile, felt it was a “powerful demonstration of architecture at its best.”

Other readers weren’t quite so convinced. “Yikes, I’ll stick with my local All Saints Church – centuries old and handsome as ever,” wrote disapproving commenter Mr J.

For Jack Woodburn, the designs evoked “end of times/Armageddon informed bunkers.”

Commenter The Truth expressed their aversion to the “drab, heavy, grim and inelegant interiors” before suggesting “the late 1960s and early 1970s was a period where architectural experimentation struggled to find meaningful experimentation, as indeed the majority of these images confirm.”

Architecture at its best? Join the discussion ›

Rafael Vonoly four skyscrapers Toronto
Rafael Viñoly Architects designs four skyscrapers for first Canada project

“I am starting to think nothing ever looks good in this scale”

Also splitting opinion in the comments section this week was four skyscrapers in Toronto designed by US studio Rafael Viñoly Architects, which will be the studio’s first built project in Canada.

“What a drab and boring urban landscape…well, I guess it fits perfectly then,” quipped Souji.

“I am starting to think nothing ever looks good in this scale” reflected Miles Teg. “These kinds of giant towers are so devoid of human scale, however cool the design looks, they always feel imposing and ugly to me,” they concluded.

However, not all commenters were quite so pessimistic. Ken Steffes proposed that “the colour of these structures make them attractive.”

Anthony Hartnell was also a fan, writing “looks fantastic and a compliment to the growing neighbourhood!”

What do you think? Join the discussion ›

Old chapel conversion Devon interiors
Tuckey Design Studio restores original character of Old Chapel in Devon

“This really is first class”

One project that readers could reach a consensus on this week was a house in a converted chapel in Devon, England, revamped by London practice Tucker Design Studio to reveal and restore the building’s original features.

Several commenters had nothing but praise for the dwelling – Souji described it as “beautiful!”, for Chris it was “stunning” and in Zea Newland’s book it was “perfect”. Chris D was similarly captivated and determined “this really is first class”.

Alfred Hitchcock was also a fan and thought it was “a really beautifully done and sensitive conversion”. But they did point out that “it’s probably a second home, which is perhaps not so great for locals.”

Ralph Kent was one of the few readers to voice any reservations, commenting “very nice but the kitchen looks way undersized/underspecced for a property of that size”.

Would you live in this converted chapel? Join the discussion ›

Comments update

Dezeen is the world’s most commented architecture and design magazine, receiving thousands of comments each month from readers. Keep up to date on the latest discussions on our comments page and subscribe to our weekly Debate newsletter, where we feature the best reader comments from stories in the last seven days.



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