A pastel-pink church hall has been added to the 1930s-built Huaxiang Church in Fuzhou,southeastern China, featuring rooftop amphitheatres that offer open-air services.
Architecture studio Inuce, which has offices in China and Switzerland, designed the church hall and community centre to accommodate the growing number of Christians in the local area, who no longer fitted inside the 80-year-old church.
The new building contains a large hall with a capacity of 1,500, along with two multifunctional spaces that can each hold around 500 people.The rest of the building contains music rehearsal rooms for the choir, offices, classrooms for the Sunday school and general activity rooms.
When the original church was built, its steeple was clearly visible above the surrounding single-storey houses. But now it is surrounded by office and housing blocks.Along with the meeting the functional need of creating a larger space for worship and community events, the building has been designed reestablish the church’s place in its urban environment.
“新社区中心的构思，是为了体现会众自我认知的变化，并将其传达给城市民众，”Inuce的创始人Dirk U Moench说，“从一个受压迫的，只有几个老人隐居在后街的少数民族开始，过去的20年里，花巷已经发展成为一个充满活力的社区，而中坚力量主要以年轻信徒为主。“
“The new community centre was conceived to embody a change in the congregation’s self-perception and to communicate it to the urban audience,” Dirk U Moench, principal of Inuce, told .”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.”
“新一代的愿望不仅是保护其遗产和维持现状，而是将其转化为一种反映其新的地位并展示其作为基督徒的社会潜力的形式 – 明显地呈现并积极贡献，”Moench继续说道。 “这需要反映在一个特色设计中，它以传统教会的建筑为起点，但也体现了社区对自身愿景的这种范式转变。”
“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,” continued Moench.”This needed to be reflected in a characteristic design, which took the traditional church’s architecture as a starting point, but also embodied this paradigm shift in the community’s vision of itself.”
The height and form of the building were controlled by height restrictions. But it was possible to fold the walls of the structure to create a distinctive form that differentiates it from the surrounding buildings.The entire building is clad in pink pebbledash, giving it a distinctive form and colour.”Visually, this energetic and youthful colour complements the well-aged gravity of the old church’s granite blocks and expresses the generational change in the congregation’s development,” said Moench.
To provide additional space for services and to give views across the city, two amphitheatres were created on the church’s two roofs.”When used, it is transformed into a stage of urban proportions, from which the community inevitably shares joy and faith with its ‘larger audience．