Rethinking The Role of Light and Spatial Enclosure in Designing Religious Architecture

Purnama Salura, Stephanie Clarissa

As a medium of religious activities, the architecture of religious buildings was intentionally designed to express sacredness. From the beginning of religion, light was a symbol of the Transcendent.Hence, the sublime treatment of light is one of the design methods which was chosen to create a sacred atmosphere in religious buildings. Previous academic publications on the architecture of religious buildings usually discuss the use of religious icons and symbols to express sacred meanings. In contrast to these studies, this study aims to elucidate the role of light and spatial enclosure in creating a sacred atmosphere, by integrating interpretations from building users. The case study is contemporary mosque architecture which uses light as the main design concept. The analysis shows that the blinding light in Al-Irsyad Mosque tends to emphasize the hierarchy of the mihrab area. While in the 99 Cahaya Mosque, the crepuscular light that penetrates from above has an important role in creating a serene and contemplative atmosphere but was not able to express the hierarchy which embodies the symbolic function of Islamic congregational prayer. This study offered a new understanding in expressingsacred meanings in religious architecture, which complements the universal paradigms of sacredness put forward by Otto and Eliade at the theoretical and practical level. Thus, the study can be used as a guide for practitioners and decision-makers involved in the design of religious architecture in general and specifically of mosque architecture.

Volume 12 | Issue 2

Pages: 771-782

DOI: 10.5373/JARDCS/V12I2/S20201095