St. George Church, Kochi
Architect: Wallmakers Architectural Consultancy
Built on the foundation of a historic monument, this church resurrects the original church built in 1615 AD and was left in shambles after years of neglect and encroachment. Designed using stabilized earth blocks to form Nubian arches, the alter and the aisles of the church are supported by flying buttresses that were built without shuttering.
Being a religious building for a small community, the church would have demanded substantial negotiation from the architect and a trusting client to realize. The architecture of the church builds on the imagery of historic monuments but the transparent use of the material in its potential forms gives this building its fascinating edifice.
The domes, vaults and arches envelop a sublime central space with light filtering through the cross (an inspiration from Tadao Ando) framing the sanctuary. The masons were trained to create these structures using a chain-study method first formulated by Antoni Gaudí in forms that were mastered by Hassan Fathy. Nonetheless, with all its influences the church borrows, the result is an original work of contemporary architecture that exploits the unique opportunity to build for a challenging programme.
By re-interpreting a historic construction technique and responding to the footprint of the structure on the site, the architect creates a building made with material experimentation that inspires awe and a sense of wonderment with its rich spatial quality and therefore, the St. George Church in Kochi by Wallmakers Architectural Consultancy is a Citation project in The Merit List.