The symbolic role of light in religious architecture with a critical interpretation of five churches in Columbus, Indiana

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Slagan, David M.
Hall, Jeffrey L.
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Thesis (M. Arch.)
Department of Architecture
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Daylighting, a form of illumination utilizing sunlight, has been used by architects as a method of symbolic expression in religious architecture. Light can be used to illustrate architectural comcepts or to satisfy the liturgical requirements of the particular religious denomination. This thesis illustrates some of the techniques employed by well-known architects, critiquing their successes and failures, and weighting them against more conventional works designed by lesser-known architects in order to discover what separates the ordinary from the extraordinary.The city of Columbus was chosen for its outstanding reputation of producing well known works of architecture, or "icons." Five churches have been singled out on the basis of their exemplary use of daylighting:First Christian ChurchNorth Christian Church First Baptist ChurchSt. Peter's Lutheran ChurchSandy Hook United Methodist ChurchResearch undertaken involved studying the philosophies of each architect, critically assessing the theories of light in earlier historical periods, and defining how some of these earlier concepts have influenced today's architects, if at all. By closely adhering to these principles, the architectural and spiritual value of the church increased greatly.