Walter A. Netsch Jr., Cadet Chapel (1959)

Looking more like a space-age battleship than a house of worship from certain angles, architect Walter A. Netsch Jr.’s futuristic temple is an angular assemblage of five-ton metal tetrahedrons, built out of the same aluminum panels as jet fighter wings. Winner of the American Institute of Architects' 25 Year Award and a United States National Historic Landmark, the set of 17 spires might as well be a squadron screaming towards the heavens. 

Photo courtesy David, Creative Commons  Photo 6 of 10 in 10 Inspiring Modern Churches
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Philip Johnson, Crystal Cathedral (1981) 

Home to the massive congregation of preacher Robert Schuller, famous for the Hour of Power television show, the Crystal Cathedral certainly puts the mega in megachurch. Technically a tower of glass, the $18 million structure designed by Philip Johnson utilizes silicon-based glue to hold the 10,000 glass panes in place (it can withstand a 8.0 earthquake). It’s currently being renovated by the Catholic church, which purchased the space after Schuller went bankrupt in 2010.

Photo courtesy Forgemind ArchiMedia, Creative Commons  Photo 8 of 10 in 10 Inspiring Modern Churches
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E. Fay Jones, Thorncrown Chapel (1980)

This is not a still from Game of Thrones, but the story of this unique chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is just as fantastical. Jim Reed hired Frank Lloyd Wright associate E. Fay Jones to build the chapel as a waystation of sorts for visitors on his land, who passed through seeking the magnificent views of the Ozark hills. From the pine cut thin so it could be easily carried inconspicuously through the woods to the constantly shifting shadows created by the grid of cross trusses, Thorncrown is a place, as Jones said, “to think your best thoughts.”

Photo courtesy David Holmes, Creative Commons  Photo 7 of 10 in 10 Inspiring Modern Churches
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