Building a church using an architectural form language that fails to connect reflects a particular design philosophy. The wooden slats of the Oakland Cathedral are used in airports and shopping centers to produce a pleasant but neutral environment. This is not an act of love towards the Creator comparable to the one that overwhelms us as we approach and enter a Mediaeval Cathedral. I would say that instead of intense physical pleasure, one does achieve the very different reward of intellectual pleasure from such a church having recognizable symbols of built form. But that comes at the price of making everything else less intense.
Under the sovereignty of Norway, and then Denmark for most of its history, Iceland also had little tradition of monumental architecture until after the end of the First World War. It was only as the country began inching towards independence (which was finally achieved in 1944) that Iceland went a building spree—just as Modernism was blossoming. What accounts for the distinctive design of Iceland’s 20th century churches? Above and beyond the general trend towards architectural modernism, Icelandic architects charged with designing these churches turned to motifs and materials found in the regional landscape. Simply echoing architectural styles of earlier eras and foreign lands would likely seem less relevant to an emerging nation trying to craft a contemporary Icelandic identity.