CHURCH OF THE OTAKUS
Post-secular society is characterized by “the continued existence of religious communities in an increasingly secularized environment. The revised reading of the secularization hypothesis relates less to its substance and more to the predictions concerning the future role of ‘religion’”.
Jürgen Habermas, “Secularism’s Crisis of Faith”
Church has always been a deliberate agency that perpetuates the constituency in architecture. It is also the conceptual representation of the ideology behind. The legacy of churches once suffused our life, yet with the emergence of globalization and technology advancement, the society is undergoing a crisis of faith, as confluence of culture and capitalism starts to substitute the role of religion with alternative form of relevance – commercial branding, technical products, media production – the manmade artifacts are the secularized deities to the mass production and have earned global recognization that continues to disseminate in the public realm.
Based on Post-secularism, the project intends to raised the awareness of the ongoing social phenomenon and its reflection upon architectural discipline. It foresees a future scenario in which religion and the banal world are synthetically combined, and actively involves public interaction in the physical space.
Church of the Otakus is an imaginary religion derived from the Japanese anime sub-culture, the otaku culture. With its inarguable consistency of the anime fandom, the otakus have shared traits in religion due to its wide acceptance and a similar collective behavior in religious ritual, activities such as the comic-con, cosplay, video games competition and OST concerts are the secularized version of pilgrimage. Therefore to properly present the idea, the project strives to find a spatial form to deliver the transcendency and aesthetics that corresponding to the impression of religion.
The project takes shape from two autonomous elements: the armature of dematerialized dome and the pneumatic bubbles, that are contingent to the structure frame with deformation. Through the combination of the binary system, the project explores an alternative church in its temporarily and sublimity, and therefore retrieve religion back to the public realm.
The first element, the armatures, resonate the form of the church domes. They are achieved through concrete cubes of three sized, the 30ft, 60ft and 90ft. Each cube is carved by 4 cylinders, leaving a generic appearance to the skeleton.
The second elements, the bubbles, are inflated membranes fixed among the punctuations on the floor plate, which merely locates the bubbles and predicts the potential composition. The frame acts as a second layer of constraints that finalize the size and deformation of the bubbles. To add more onto the distinction between the bubble and the skeleton, the floor cuts are not aligned to the gridiron, they move freely on the floor plate to generate different variations of inflation.
The bubble aims to intrigue direct contact both physically and visually through its timely change and utilization of multi-media. It is the new form of church that is open to the public in a porous way.