Evolution of built form of Roman catholic Churches, A case of of Nairobi

Abstract.
Prior to the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965, most Roman Catholic Church exhibited a built form that reflected the
strict adherence to the liturgy of the Church and took a more or less similar form of design. Reforms that came with the
Second Vatican council led to enculturation of the Church‘s liturgy to accommodate various elements in its worship
depending on a particular locality. These liberties in the mode of worship, transcended in to the design of churches and
thus a problem of designing and building churches that reflect the people they are built form, the liberal liturgy and
prevalent philosophies in the world arose. In line with this claim the author seeks to highlight the transformation that the
built form of Roman Catholic churches has undergone in Nairobi, establishing how they responded to the liturgy and
prevalent philosophies of their time, establish whether constants in church design exist so as to determine what would
impact the design of Roman Catholic Church in Nairobi today.
In the review of literature the author seeks to understand how the history of the church led to the changes in liturgy that
culminated with the calling of the Second Vatican Council. Prior to the Second Vatican Council most Roman Catholic
Churches adopted a single typology in the design of its churches. A radical change occurred after the second Vatican
council that saw more church typologies emerging in an attempt to reflect the liberty in the liturgy, the architectural
philosophy of the time, prevalent philosophies in the world and the taste of the faithful to whom the church buildings
were designed. This is in an attempt to create churches that are in line with the Roman Catholic liturgy and create a
suitable environment for Roman Catholic worship in governed by a liberal and loosened liturgy.
Four descriptive case studies from different periods were used for the study to show the evolution. Structured observations
and interviews were used in data collection in the course of the research. Typology, materials and context were the
parameters to carry out the field study and bring out the process of evolution in the built form of the selected cases.
A detailed analysis of the four case was done which established a transformation in the design of Roman Catholic
Churches during the different ages as they try to accommodate the function of worship, reflect meanings and symbolism,
adapt to different socio-economic parameters, apply different technologies and meet the needs of the communities
they are built form.
The study recommends a necessity of understanding the Roman Catholic Liturgy for the design of churches among
architects, involving the laity in design, design of churches whose built form reflects their status, community, the
architectural thinking of the day and reflects a Church that has accepted and been in cultured by secular values. This is
in line with the realisation and a match towards a new and modern church architecture.
 

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