Student project from the University of Westminster

Six student architecture designs for religious buildings

Dezeen School Shows: for this roundup of student projects, we've selected six architectural designs for religious and multi-faith buildings that have been presented on Dezeen School Shows.

The selection includes designs for churches, mosques, interfaith spaces and renovations of existing religious buildings that explore themes of community, spirituality and worship.

The projects were designed by students enrolled at institutions from around the world, including University of Westminster in the UK, California Baptist University, Monash University in Australia and Florence Institute of Design International.

Read on to see student designs for religious buildings:


Interior render of a chapel with curved forms on the walls and ceilings and a large window at the end of the aisle

Heartsease Sanctuary by Rosario Rojas

Architecture student Rosario Rojas aimed to create a relationship between light and structure in this design for a Christian study centre on a university campus.

Named Heartsease Sanctuary, the project provides a community space where attendees can come together to worship and study.

"The design proposal embraces human and environmental microcosms through transcendent approaches to establish serenity and relational security," said Rojas.

"The project explores the intersection of environmental wellness, academic study and worship to create optimal spaces for community and self."

Student: Rosario Rojas
School: California Baptist University
Course: Architecture A21 ARC410

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Collage by student at Norwich University of the Arts

El Poblenou Mosque and Al-Andalus Research Centre by Chris Briggs

For this undergraduate architecture project, student Chris Briggs designed a mosque and research centre in the neighbourhood of El Poblenou, Barcelona.

Briggs' proposal aims to provide the local Muslim community with a large sacred space that references traditional architectural design.

"Regarding the ancient history of Al-Andalus and the industrial heritage of the site, it was a clear opportunity to translate the historical and material reference of Andalusian design and traditional Catalan construction techniques into the design of the architecture," said Briggs.

"This was translated into a mosque that serves to promote dialogue between cultures, preserve the industrial heritage of El Poblenou and bring light to the cultural legacy of Al-Andalus by linking itself with the current construction of a diverse and respectful Catalan society."

Student: Chris Briggs
School: Norwich University of the Arts
Course: BA (Hons) Architecture

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Three sketch drawings by student at Monash University

A Community Cathedral by Josh Robinson and Olivia Besim

In this project, postgraduate architecture students Josh Robinson and Olivia Besim proposed the transformation of a church in Victoria, Australia, into a community building that can be used by all local residents.

The design combines different programmes to form a shared space that provides occupational health services.

"Our design addresses first-person perspectives – we constantly asked ourselves, how can the materiality of the spaces create a positive, inviting presentation for individuals utilising this building?" said Robinson and Besim.

"It explores a parallel design narrative beginning with the existing church fabric. We asked ourselves: how could the church have its former civic significance restored, in a way appropriate for the community service it currently provides?"

Students: Josh Robinson and Olivia Besim
School: Monash University
Course: Master of Architecture

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Visualisation of building with figures and diagram

Abrahamic House Cultural Centre by Sabrina Khaled

Interior design student Sabrina Khaled designed the Abrahamic House Cultural Centre as an interfaith space that encourages diversity and discussion.

The project incorporates symbolic designs that explore themes of identity, interactions and the divine.

"Observing how the current world dynamic and situation is constantly deteriorating, Sabrina noticed the need to go back to our origins and spread a culture of tolerance, acceptance and coexistence," said Khaled.

"Within the walls of Sant'Orsola in Florence, Italy, she creates a history tunnel, library, lecture hall, workshop spaces and two special halls – Wander Hall and Divinity Hall – to represent a new beginning and a divine completeness."

Student: Sabrina Khaled
School: Florence Institute of Design International
Course: Interior Design

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Sketch perspective drawing of an interior religious space with a large window at the altar

Not Your Father's Sunday Best: Designing Sacred Space by Gi Giannone

In this design for an unaffiliated sacred space, undergraduate architecture student Gi Giannone aimed to provide a place of worship for those who do not adhere to a particular religion.

Located along Fairmount Park's East Reservoir in Philadelphia, the project has a connection to nature and uses natural light and materials to create a spiritual gathering space without religious symbols.

"Several studies were performed to investigate light, movement and material and their contribution to creating ineffable space. This assisted in the ability to study what can replace symbolism and the ornate to make a space feel sacred.

"The worship spaces are to be flexible and imperfect. They range from intimate to large scale to accommodate a single person's sacred journey, a small family gathering, or a large ceremony."

Student: Gi Giannone
School: Drexel University
Course: BArch Architecture

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Collage image of the edge of a boat in water with a building and a bird

The water healing mosque of Royal Docklands by Suha Faisal Valiyaveettil

Architecture and environmental design student Suha Faisal Valiyaveettil designed a mosque situated on the Royal Docklands along the River Thames in London, which uses the tidal movement of the river to harvest energy.

According to Valiyaveettil, the project uses water both practically in its environmental design and symbolically as a "spiritual purifier".

"The project's ambition is to use water as a symbolic, social, and environmental factor to break down social barriers and provide resilient cultural places in the Royal Docklands – an area socially neglected and prone to future flooding," said Valiyaveettil.

"The challenge is to combine aesthetic and cultural concerns with environmental ones in order to set the foundations of a circular local economy and embrace the requirements of simplicity and modesty of Islam."

Student: Suha Faisal Valiyaveettil
School: University of Westminster
Course: Architecture and Environmental Design BSc

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Partnership content

These projects are presented in school shows from institutions that partner with Dezeen. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.