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Arches And Ceilings For Modern Church Construction

St. John The Baptist Greek Orthodox Church - Archways and Ceilings
St. John The Baptist Greek Orthodox Church - A Recent Project Featuring Archways and Ceilings

Constructing religiously devoted places is a complex practice. While century-old traditions play a fundamental part, innovation and sustainability are equally important.

Although the luxury and sensory overload in churches of earlier eras has given way to minimalism, architects have found a way to maintain a sense of spirituality, manifestation, and fascination in modern structures.

At Archways and Ceilings, we have provided products for a number of church construction projects to help create the staple features of churches. These include arches, dome ceilings, and groin vault ceilings.

All of these features can be found in churches dating back to ancient times. However, for modern churches, they all take on a much more simplified form. And you can see this in the designs of the three churches we’ll be talking about later on in this blog post.

Church Architecture: Modern Ceilings and Arches

Present-day styles incorporate ceiling domes and arches through simple and clean lines. These replace the richly ornamental detail of the traditional fresco-painted ceilings.

Church vaulted ceilings

In architectural terms, a vault is an arch that extends over an open area.

Church vaulted ceilings draw the attention upwards, creating a sense of volume and openness. Such an atmosphere attracts one into its magnificence and beauty.

Groin vaults are created by intersecting two barrel vaults at right angles. It has been a very common church feature since the Middle Ages as the design distributes weight well so that there is less need for big support strictures. Thus, it’s the perfect ceiling for churches, which need a lot of open space for seating.

Light is also beautifully reflected off a groin-vaulted ceiling, adding depth and movement to a space.

Vaulted Ceilings at St. Anne's Church in Annaberg, Germany
Vaulted Ceilings at St. Anne's Church in Annaberg, Germany - image credit - María José Ventas

Archways for churches

While modern architecture uses concrete and steel as support structures, the arch is still widely used for shaping openings and creating flow within a space.

The curved lines of an arch soften and add depth to a space. Archways add elegance to the area and play with light and shade, which creates interest.

Because of the way arches transfer weight, they can carry an immense load and span large openings. As such, they are perfect for creating large open spaces in churches.

Arches being built in a church using archway kits from Archways and Ceilings
Archways being constructed in St. Sava Church - by Archways and Ceilings

Dome ceilings for churches

Prefabricated kits make installing dome ceilings much easier than it used to be! Domes can be formed in almost any configuration imaginable, including elliptical shapes, bell-shaped curves, and structures with distinct spines.

When it comes to church architecture, domes carry a lot of significance and meaning. For example, a dome over a square base is symbolic. The circle represents perfection, eternity, and the vault of heaven. The square represents the earth. The St. Sava Church in Allen Texas clearly reflects this design.

Over time, domes became the direction for prayer and focal points for decoration.

Dome Ceiling being constructed at a church
A magnificent Dome Ceiling being constructed at St. Sava Church - by Archways and Ceilings

Featured Church Projects Using Domes, Arches, and Groin Vaults

At Archways and Ceilings, we are proud to have our kits featured in the construction of several beautiful, modern churches.

St. John The Baptist Greek Orthodox Church

This Greek Orthodox Church is typical of  Byzantine architecture with hallmark soaring spaces and sumptuous decoration.

All in all, the 10,000 square foot church highlights over 20 different specialty features containing arches, domes, and groin vaults.

Arches line the walkways, inviting light into the passages. Multi-layered arches lead off the aisle into the different church areas. This gives a feel of continuity and flow throughout the structure.

Numerous dome ceilings create texture and depth, accentuating the architectural structure’s style. The massive dome over the altar area features multiple arched windows that project light onto the focal point of the church.

The St. John The Baptist Greek Orthodox Church also features groin vaults along the passageways. While the paint color and the clean lines create a modern, timeless design, ornate gold chandeliers hang from the central points of the groin vaults. These bring a more ornate look to the church and create a spectacular contrast of modern and traditional styles.

Dome Ceilings and Arches being finished in St. John The Baptist Greek Orthodox Church
Dome Ceilings and Arches being finished in St. John The Baptist Greek Orthodox Church - image credit - Ashton Commercial Construction

St. Sava Church

The construction of St. Sava Church in Allen, Texas, was completed in 2019. The church features several archways and one magnificent dome ceiling.

This church is an excellent example of modern church architecture. It is simple, with clean lines and white walls but features some traditional church styles. For example, while the exterior is a fresh white, you can find arched windows with stone borders, reminiscent of old churches.

Five arches frame the entrance of the church - two smaller ones on each side of a large central arch. This creates a simple, yet impactful entryway leading people into the church.

The interior of the church is very open with large arches supporting the main structure. These arches lead the eye to the impressive central dome, making it the hero of the space.

The dome sits on an octagonal structure over a square base. The octagonal walls supporting the dome each feature an arched window that helps bring more light into the church.

On the sides of the dome inside the building are groin vault ceilings with simple, modern pendant lights hanging from the central points. These ceilings lead the eye upward and help add to the airy, open feel of the space.

Check out this video walkthrough of the construction process of St. Sava Church.

St. John of Damascus

The St. John of Damascus Church in Tyler, Texas, is a simple, yet impressive modern structure. The exterior features multiple arched windows as well as nine arches framing the entrance. Similar to the St. Sava church, the entrance design consists of multiple smaller arches on either side of one larger central arch.

Inside, there are many arches within arches that create flow and continuity throughout the space. They are positioned symmetrically around the altar area - above which sits the dome of the church.

This dome also sits on an octagonal structure with long arched windows. This helps light to stream in and illuminate the altar.

Dome Ceilings and Arches in St. John of Damascus Church - Tyler, TX
Dome Ceilings and Arches in St. John of Damascus Church - image credit - Ashton Commercial Construction

Final Thoughts

The great churches and cathedrals of Europe have left a vast body of architectural elements used today.

While the interiors of modern churches have changed with improved building techniques, architects continue to draw inspiration from the great churches of the past. And our archways and ceiling kits are the perfect way to add in these architectural elements.

Whether you're building a church or just looking to incorporate some of these incredible design elements into your own home, it’s important to get a professional’s advice. Talk to a pro at Archways & Ceilings on how to make your church design dreams a reality.

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