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A Hot New Nightclub? Nope, Just A Church In The Suburbs

Forget the dusty wooden pews and stained glass.

Is it sacrilegious to describe a church as sexy? Surely, God would understand, since this gleaming, disorienting space looks more like a fashion showroom designed by Zaha Hadid than a place of devout worship. Odder still, it’s located not in cosmopolitan Tokyo or Paris but on a steel company’s industrial campus in Linz, Austria.

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According to X Architekten, the project architects, the chapel sits on an island surrounded by major traffic arteries–a virtual no-man’s land “in need of a new strong character.” Instead of building a towering structure that would compete with Voestalpine‘s other company buildings, the firm decided to carve the church into a hillside, leaving the rooftop as a walkable bridge. Keeping the structure low to the ground also obviated the need to build an expensive foundation.

Inside, visitors are greeted by a dizzying array of faceted walls lined with white-spruce paneling and exposed light strips. Views of the green lawn through floor-to-ceiling windows contrast with the spare, brightly lit interior–which offers nary a dark, dusty pew for silent contemplation. And perhaps that’s the point: In this church, there’s no hiding from God.

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About the author

A former editor at such publications as WIRED, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Fast Company, Belinda Lanks has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, Interior Design, and ARTnews.

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