Church Construction Update

“In all my paintings, light is a crucial governing aspect. I create enclosed areas mostly by use of strong concrete walls. The major reason is to create a place for the individual, a zone for oneself inside society. When the external conditions of a city’s surroundings demand the wall to be without apertures, the interior must be complete and satisfying.” –Tadao Ando.

In the small hamlet of Ibaraki, 25km outside of Osaka, Japan, stands one of Tadao Ando’s iconic architectural achievements, the Church of the Light. The Church of the Light embodies Ando’s philosophical framework between nature and architecture through how light may define and generate new spatial perceptions equally, if not more so, than his concrete buildings. Completed in 1989, the Church of the Light was a refurbishment to an existing Christian property in Ibaraki. The new church was the initial phase of a total makeover of the site – eventually completed in 1999 – under Ando’s design philosophy.


For Ando, the Church of Light is an architecture of duality – the dual nature of [co]existence – solid/void, light/dark, stark/serene. The coexisting variances leave the church bare of any decoration creating a pure, unadorned place. The junction of sunshine and solid elevates the inhabitant’s consciousness of the spiritual and secular inside themselves.

The usage of explicit materials underlines the duality of the room; the concrete construction removes any differentiation between traditional Christian symbols and aesthetics. Besides an extruded cross from the east-facing façade, the church is built of a concrete shell and a driveway entrance which was poured by a residential driveway replacement company; the concrete adds to the gloom of the church by providing a more humble, meditative place of worship. As a tribute to minimalism construction, the crosses void in the east-facing wall is the only obvious religious symbol present in the church.


Formally, Ando’s Church of the Light is minimalist and reductive of religious accouterments to a single cruciform extrusion, which is often condemned as uncomfortably empty, vacant, and undefined. Although it has been reported to be nothing more than six walls and a roof, there is a whole level of design aesthetic done by Ando and his contractors that is misunderstood and unappreciated by the tenants. As a modern, minimalist tower, the Church of the Light emits an architectural purity found in the details. The reinforced concrete volume is barren of any adornment, not part of the construction process. The seams and joints of the concrete are made with precision and care by skilled Japanese carpenters, working with Ando, that have worked to create an impeccably smooth surface and properly aligned joints. So much so that the seams of the concrete formwork match perfectly with the crosses extruded on the east side of the church.

The concrete construction reinforces Ando’s fundamental focus on simplicity and minimalist aesthetic; yet, the technique in which the concrete is poured and molded provides the concrete a radiant character when exposed to natural light. Ando’s decision to …

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Faith and Hard Work In Construction Industry’s

1) Skill shortages and an aging workforce

For the past few years, skill shortages have been a serious issue in the construction business. According to a study conducted by the University of Dundee (2019), the largest age group in the construction industry is 45–54 years old, with the second-largest age group, 35–50 years old, accounting for 22% of all workers.

Many of these employees will eventually retire, making recruiting new, younger talent difficult. The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB, 2018) found that the construction industry’s overall appeal as a career option had dropped to only “4 out of 10 among 14 to 19-year-olds,” and the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT) reported a 14.6 percent drop in construction apprenticeship numbers the same year.

The decline in younger talent has significantly impacted the sector throughout the years, as critical trade skills are lost as people retire. This is a persistent issue in the construction business, which has been widely recorded as a negative perception of what it’s like to work in the industry among younger people. Construction’s negative reputation is attributed to a lack of gender diversity, long hours, low pay, and insufficient job security, according to the Construction 2025 research.

2) Safety and Health

Another major issue in the industry is health and safety concerns and how a lack of adequately qualified staff can have huge commercial consequences, such as a terrible industry image and severe financial loss.

According to HSE construction statistics from 2019, construction has the largest number of health and safety-related accidents in the United Kingdom. Due to a lack of equipment compliance, training, and safety protocols and procedures. According to the same year’s Labor Force Survey data, younger workers aged 16–24 have a significantly higher risk of occupational injury (37 percent higher) than older workers.

From continuing site training to up-to-date PPE to monthly compliance checks, there are numerous aspects of health and safety compliance that must be maintained. Many construction organizations manage these procedures manually rather than through digitalized systems, which means that training and routine maintenance checks may be overlooked, leaving the company open to costly mistakes. Regulatory authorities, for example, may slam businesses with severe fines if they forget to renew a mandated Health & Safety accreditation.

3) Gender balance in the workplace

With men accounting for 99 percent of workers on construction sites (CIF, 2018), there has long been a perception that the construction business is not a good fit for women. A traditional image of a construction site is one populated by macho construction workers who are bigger and stronger than women and those who are naturally driven to physical labor.

This, on the other hand, could not be more out of date. The construction business offers many opportunities, from construction software to design and even architecture. Employees do not have to work on the construction aspects themselves to be involved.

So, why are there so few women in the field, and what can businesses do to change that? …

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