The desire to break free from colonial design sparkled some unique architectural structures.
As Prof. George Menacher, a historian of the Syro-Malabar Church, explained to Quartz, the new designs are not part of a coherent movement but rather represent different takes on the effort to build “new” churches, often driven by cost-efficiency needs. For example, the use of big halls, mostly of rectangular or circular shape, was a way to accommodate large amounts of people. New and cheaper materials available from the 1950s onward, such as concrete, were promptly adopted instead of more traditional wood or stone, in order to keep costs down.
The result, though, seems to be the product of a creative and subversive mastermind that mixed classic Christian elements with local motifs and a sparkle of kitsch. When photographers Stefanie Zoche and Sabine Haubitz visited India between 2011 and 2016 they were struck by such idiosyncratic buildings and they decided to work on a photographic series, called Haubitz + Zoche: Postcolonial Epiphany, currently on show at Zephyr—Space for Photography, in Mannheim, Germany until August 26.
Here are some of the photos in the collection:
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