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The Church of LIGHT

As the words of Heidegger go: we dwell ‘on earth‘, we are ‘under heaven‘.

Here ‘under heaven‘, an exemplary example of architecture transcending the boundaries of our ‘earthly realm‘ is the Ibaraki Church of Light.

Entering the raw, thick-walled complex, the rays of light that fills the hall slowly permeates your consciousness. A faint, thin outline of a crucifix seemingly created from light is seen from afar. As one draws closer, the light becomes stronger; almost blinding.

Designed in 1989 by one of Japan’s most renowned architect, Tadao Ando, the Ibaraki Church of Light is defined by its ethereal and ephemeral lighting element. Its interior is simple and honest. Light pervades the space, contrasting the darkness and shadows cast by its thick Romanesque, concrete walls. The clean layout allows for easy appreciation, and simultaneously emphasizing the beauty of that single, illuminated crucifix. Ando’s delicate utilization of light insinuates the metaphysical, cosmological, and of the divine; all key elements of architecture, especially that of religious context.

With just a moment’s gaze into the light-formed crucifix, one is inspiringly graced with a heightened sense of divine intervention. It is amazing how the light’s intangibility is able to induce such an otherworldly environment within the present space.

This is not a mere architectural wonder; but an entire experience crafted by Ando.

– Amelia Fong

Images courtesy of Paul Kawai and Shinya Ishimura

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