Territories of Faith

Religion, Urban Planning and Demographic Change in Post-War Europe

Edited by Sven Sterken and Eva Weyns

Regular price €55.00 (including 6% VAT) Sale

Edited volume - paperback

VIEW Edited volume - ebook

A novel and interdisciplinary perspective on post-war church building

In the 1950s and 1960s, thousands of churches were built across Europe in an attempt to keep up with the continent's rapid urbanisation. This book addresses the immense effort related to the planning, financing, and construction of this new religious infrastructure. Going beyond aspects of style and liturgy, and transcending a focus on particular architects or regions, this volume considers church building at the crossroads of pastoral theology, religious sociology, and urban planning. Presenting the rich palette of strategies and methods deployed by congregations, dioceses, government bodies, and private patrons in their attempt to secure a religious presence in the rapidly modernising world, Territories of Faith offers a broad view of the practice of religion and its material expression in the fast-evolving (sub)urban landscapes of post-war Europe.

Contributors: João Alves da Cunha (Universidade Católica Portuguesa), Alba Arboix-Alió (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya / Universitat de Barcelona), Umberto Bordoni (Scuola Beato Angelico), Angela Connelly (Manchester School of Architecture), Maria Antonietta Crippa (Politecnico di Milano), Kees Doevendans (TU Eindhoven / KU Leuven), Davide Fusari (Politecnico di Milano), Jesús García Herrero (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid), Judi Loach (Cardiff University; Laboratoire de Recherche Historique Rhône-Alpes), João Luís Marques (Universidade do Porto), Mélanie Meynier-Philip (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Lyon), Ellen Rowley (University College Dublin), Sofia Anja Singler (Cambridge University), Sven Sterken (KU Leuven), Marina Wesner (TU Berlin), Eva Weyns (KU Leuven), Ferdinando Zanzottera (Politecnico di Milano)

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).


Faith and its Territories
Sven Sterken and Eva Weyns


1. Planning for Faith in Wythenshawe, Manchester
Angela Connelly

2. Lyons’s Post-War Churches
Two Contexts, Two Churches, One Architect: Pierre Genton
Judi Loach and Mélanie Meynier-Philip

3. Constructing Country, Community and City
Alvar Aalto’s Lakeuden Risti, 1951-1966
Sofia Anja Singler

4. Faith in a Divided City
Church Building in Berlin and the 1957 Interbau Exhibition
Marina Wesner


5. Rethinking the Urban Parish
François Houtart, the Centre de Recherches Socio-Religieuses and the 1958 Pastoral Plan for Brussels
Eva Weyns and Sven Sterken

6. Catholic Parishes in the Lisbon Master Plan of 1959
The Legacy of the SNIP and the MRAR
João Alves da Cunha and João Luís Marques
7. “A Silent Revolution”
Jacinto Rodríguez Osuna, Luis Cubillo de Arteaga and the 1965 Plan Pastoral for Madrid
Jesús García Herrero


8. A Laboratory of Pastoral Modernity Church Building in Milan under Cardinal Montini and Enrico Mattei from 1955 to 1963
Umberto Bordoni, Maria Antonietta Crippa, Davide Fusari and Ferdinando Zanzottera

9. Reconstructing the Diocese of Barcelona
Parish Reform and Church Building under Monsignor Modrego Casaus from 1943 to 1967
Alba Arboix-Alió and Sven Sterken

10. Mass Housing and the Catholic Hierarchy in Dublin, 1930s–1970s 305
The Case of Ballymun Estate
Ellen Rowley

11. Epilogue
A Divine Dwelling Crisis? Notes for a Paradigm of Emptiness
Kees Doevendans

Format: Edited volume - paperback

Size: 238 × 170 × 20 mm

360 pages

Illustrated b/w

ISBN: 9789462703094

Publication: January 31, 2022

Series: KADOC-Studies on Religion, Culture and Society 30

Languages: English

Stock item number: 146465

Eva Weyns is PhD candidate at the Faculty of Architecture of KU Leuven and works as a consultant for the Flanders Architecture Institute.
Sven Sterken is professor at the Faculty of Architecture of KU Leuven.
This edited collection focuses on the extraordinary flourishing of religious architecture in European cities between roughly 1945 and 1975. We are reminded throughout the volume – which concentrates largely on the Roman Catholic church – of the astonishing pace of building in this period [...] Through use, for example, of material in diocesan and municipal archives, we gain a rich understanding of the sociological mechanics behind so many architectural masterpieces of this era.
Richard Butler, Urban History , Volume 49 , Issue 4 , November 2022 , pp. 825 - 827, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0963926822000438

Territories of Faith is an important contribution to the understanding of church building, especially roman catholic, in post-war western Europe. It examines the processes that underpinned post-war church building, which so manifestly deviated from tradition. This book certainly contributes to a better appreciation of these usually atypical buildings. The focus of this book is primarily on roman catholic churches, which makes the essays more mutually comparable.
Marcus van der Meulen, FRH, https://www.frh-europe.org/territories-of-faith-church-and-the-post-war-city/