Liturgical architecture

Liturgical architecture refers to religious structures, forms, spaces and orders. Liturgical architecture can enhance ones religious experience through ritual procession, circumambulation, and the narration of religious stories through the form and ornamentation of a building. When combined with an uncannily matching liturgy (both its cause and its fruit), the result has been an alienation of many ordinary Catholics-that is, not those who are experts in this field, or those of an unusually heightened piety or sensibility.
Salvacao Church in Mumbai( 1974-77)
Charles Correa’s Salvacao Church in Bombay, according to him is a ‘return to original principles’. The architect felt that originally the design of churches was based on the concept that there were three crucial periods in the life of Christ : a) The Baptism, b) The Public Life’ and c) The Crucifixion. Liturgically these found expression in ; a) The Baptismal Font and Confessionals, b) The Pulpit and the Altar, and c) The Tabernacle. In early Christian churches the plan clearly reflected these concepts. Later on, churches became one generalised space in which all the various elements were congregated together. Therefore this church is the modern Indian derivative of the original Christian church. Here the essence is the ritual and then the constants and the local influences are used to determine the form.
The point here is that the architect is going back to the form of plan that has been rejected over the centuries, because of it’s inherent incompatibility to the basics of the Christian faith. It is possible that he thought that since the Catholics were more rigid in their in their ritual, he would provide this Catholic church with a strong ritualistic sense, but the fact remains that even Catholic churches have over the centuries rejected this sort of plan.
St. Mary’s Cathedral, Varanasi (1993)
Varanasi has traditionally been an extremely sacred city for the Hindus and is full of Temples and Ghats. For Christians it gained importance in 1970 when Varanasi became a diocese and St. Mary’s was to be it’s cathedral. According to the architect and the bishop of the cathedral, there was a growing distance between church architecture in India and Indian architecture. Therefore they were looking for an architecture for Christianity specifically in the Indian context. According to the architect, "What is Indian, in Indian architecture is difficult to define. Too easily we appropriate familiar forms from one specific context and universalize it, to a far wider perspective than was originally intended. Realising this, we (the architect and the client) sought to identify three common characteristics of the architecture that represents a broader understanding of the Indian as : a multifaceted plan form generated through the development of simple geometric elements, sloping tilled roofs, expressive use of the jali, practice of circum-ambulation around venerated objects, use of corbelling to span distances, strong axiality and the vertical form strongly marked by horizontal bands" . These characteristics are supposed to have formed a basis of architecture for this project.