Most churches I know make a clear claim about what they stand for. As one might expect, the Roofless Church of New Harmony, designed by architect Philip Johnson, is a bit different:
Trees, a brick wall, and behind all that, a hump. That is what it looks like from the outside.
The distinction between outside and inside is already misleading. There is a proper wall on one side, a gate on the other, a door hidden by smaller piece of wall behind on the third side,
and a large balcony on the fourth, with a view onto a lake. This gives the enclosure of the church the semipermeability of a skin, both offering protection and letting breathe.
The interior is simple: A fountain, a few sculptures, no amenities like benches, chairs, or altar. The ambiguities continue with what I called the hump: It is a second enclosure, a large dome made out of cedar shingles, resembling both a bell and a flower that seems to hover over the earth.
The appearance and the material are organic, but its function is to enclose sound. Lacking human visitors, birds have taken to it, exploring the echo of their voices.
I liked this place a lot. There is no force that locks you in or out. Wall and bell coexist in a paradoxical, perfect balance. It is your choice to feel inside or outside, to speak or to be silent.