With a past that extends back to pre-historic times, concrete has been used as a basic building material for many modes of architecture. Developments during the industrial age witnessed advances in its strength and plasticity; as such it was predominantly adopted by the engineer. However, a material that was suited for utilitarian works only, was soon considered for the most sacred of roles . the church edifice.
The church, according to the Christian understanding, is responsible for creating a sacred environment that allows all participants to partake in the worshiping of God. This environment and all parts within have been set aside for God and are therefore considered sacred. Such characteristics are largely afforded to an edifice through the avenue of the material, as this dimension is responsible for realising the physical building.
Within the 20th Century Le Corbusier, Tadao Ando and Douglas & Barnes architects have each adopted reinforced concrete for the construction of the church edifice. Through their work, a number of key precents exist, exhibiting an understanding that exploits the inherent properties of the material for the purposes of making a sacred space. Although each of the works identified are significantly original in design, they share a common language that qualifies them as sacred, forming the basis of enquiry for this thesis. Through a historical account of concrete development, an exploration of Christian sacred space and by the means of case studies, this thesis aims to uncover the capacity of concrete in the making of Christian sacred space in 20th Century Architecture.