Standing in Fuzhou, southeastern China, is an unconventionally-coloured pastel pink church hall. Clad in pink pebbledash, the holy building leaves a distinctive impression due to its youthful exuberance, curving forms and use of contrast. Designed by architecture practice Inuce, who have offices in both China and Switzerland, the hall is attached to Huaxiang Church, which was built in the 30s. The unique visual identities of the Fuzhou church, with its well-aged granite materials, clearly contrasts the vivacious new hall. Evidently, Inuce’s design seeks to express the generational shift in the congregation’s development.Due to the growing amount of Christians in the local area, building a new church hall was a necessary task. The original, 80-year-old church was becoming outmoded due to its small confines. Additionally, the surrounding urban development began to swallow up the church’s visibility. Offices and housing blocks were obscuring the once magnificent steeple. Clearly, it needed a fresh, modernising expansion.
The new hall now showcases a host of new features, featuring rooftop amphitheatres that offer open-air services. Importantly, its larger spaces provide for more increased worship and community events, re-establishing the church’s prominence in its urban environment.“Starting out as an oppressed minority, with only few old people hiding in the seclusion of a backstreet, over the past 20 years the Huaxiang congregation has developed into a dynamic community with mostly young believers,” stated principal of Inuce, Dirk U Moench.
“The new generation’s desire is not only to preserve its heritage and to maintain the status quo, but to translate it into a form that reflects their new standing and showcases their potential for society as Christians today – visibly present and actively contributing.”Above all, this sense of immediacy and dynamism needed to reflected in hall’s characteristic design. Tradition, in the form of Huaxiang’s original structure, was a starting point to build upon. With its new hybrid form, the Fuzhou church represents a paradigm shift in the community’s vision of itself.