hybrid modernism: haubitz+zoche capture postcolonial churches in south india

hybrid modernism: haubitz+zoche capture postcolonial churches in south india

as an extension to their work of 2014, where they shared pictures of local cinemas, german photographers sabine haubitz and stefanie zoche reveal a photo series depicting colorful churches of south india in zephyr gallery, mannheim, germany. titled ‘postcolonial epiphany’, the images show the singular, irritating mixture of western and socialist influences and local construction styles.

assumption church, mupliyam
all images © stefanie zoche / VG bildkunst



the reception of modernist architecture in india was substantially inspired by le corbusier’s building projects in chandigarh in the 50s and is also reflected in the buildings of local architects. this influence is clearly evident in the south indian cinema and church buildings but is also punctuated by elements that, from a western perspective, would count as anti-modernistic.

our lady of miracles, thoppumpady in cochin



the buildings captured by houbitz+zoche derive in equal measure from traditional indian architecture and the influential art deco. strong chromaticity and striking architectural ornamentation persist here as an occurring decorative form.

st anthony’s church, mukanad



‘we find a culturally influenced re-interpretation and appropriation of modern construction style that is not only characterized by the hybridism described above, but also by a markedly set-like impression on the part of the architecture itself,’ explains zephir team. ‘the architectural style is a testimony of the desire of a nation that had been colonized for a long time by the british empire to shake off the yoke and create a unique architectural language of their own. haubitz + zoche allow us with these series to reflect upon the complexity of changes that have come about india in postcolonial times.’

st. anthony’s church, peratta


st ephrem, poyya


st joseph’s chapel, thuravoor


st joseph’s church, santhipuram


st mary, nandikkara


st theresa, eravu 



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

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