Light glides softly inside this cylindrical modern church in the Czech Republic

Atelier Štěpán
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A beautiful modern church that looks like a sculptural work of art has popped up in a Czech village. Brno-based studio Atelier Štěpán designed the Church of St Wenceslas, which blends elements from historic rotundas built in the 10th century with contemporary and minimalist styles. The church has become the new focal point for Sazovice, a village that had sought a new church since before World War II.

The Church of St Wenceslas was carefully placed at the heart of Sazovice to “amplify the spiritual sense of the church.” Instead of a rectangular form, the architects opted for a simple cylinder that’s roughly the same size and proportions as the old rotunda at Prague’s famous St. Wenceslas Chapel. The newly built church in Sazovice also contains relics of the saint.

The architects wrote: “My aim was to dematerialize the building. When you observe the volume, you feel the lightness made by design principle of tapering the walls into tiny lines. It’s like cutting a paper cylinder and exploring its possibilities. I created the windows by pushing and pulling the cuts and letting the light glide softly on the walls. The church invites us inside and provides a sense of quietness and peace. You can experience being alone with God if you want. The interior is very personal and it’s better to come and live it out.”

Unlike its richly decorated predecessors, the Church of St Wenceslas is deliberately minimalist in order to create a meditative environment. The white exterior is made of reinforced concrete covered in plaster while the interior features light colored timber pews, furnishings, and ceiling. The altar takes on a sculptural appearance with its shiny bronze shell crafted with an organic shape. A variety of window sizes and shapes punctuate the curved walls and roof to let in glimpses of the outdoors and natural light.

Light glides softly inside this cylindrical modern church in the Czech Republic