Elevating the Discourse: Chapels pt. 1

In our previous Elevating the Discourse series, we presented a number of contemporary fire stations. While we’ll definitely add more to that series down the line, we wanted to move on and present some other typologies that have caught our eye. The Chapel series will look at small spaces of worship, with Part 1 focusing on some interesting wooden projects.  Many of these chapels consist of a singular form and material, and yes, a handful were awarded competitions. This is a project scale and typology we’d definitely love to get more exposure to, so if anyone is interested in building a rammed earth chapel… 

 Chapel in Tarnow    

foto: beton


architect: beton 

location: Tarnow (PL)       

completed: 2009      

Built with funding from a local writer, this chapel is entirely made from wood, except for a large glass window overlooking the Dunajec. The detailing was simplified/eliminated so that members of the community could come togethor and construct this chapel. Archdaily has an excellent writeup worth checking out. We’re rather enamored with the way the roof wraps down to become the facade.    

 Capilla L’Animita

foto: eduardo castillo

foto: eduardo castillo

foto: eduardo castillo

architect: eduardo castillo_arquitecto     

location: Concepción (CL)       

completed: 2000      

Animitas are small shrines, typically set up in the location of someone’s death. This chapel, adjacent to a rural road, invokes the typical form of an animita, with a continuous lapped siding that forms roof and facade . The material plays off the industrial nature of adjacent warehouses and barns. We ran across this chapel several years ago, but recently noticed on a blog that the building has not withstood the test of time. Eduardo’s blog (Spanish) is definitely worth checking out – lots of models and diagrams.      

St. Angela Gymnasium Kapelle

architect: ernst architekten bda  

location: Bad Münstereifel (DE)      

completed: 2005     

The gentle curve of the chapel is a response to the Erft, which flows through Bad Münstereifel. Untreated larch, which will weather to a silvery gray, clads the exterior and interior of a structural steel skeleton. A strip skylight around the perimeter bathes the interior in an even light. Heating is supplied by radiant tubing in the floor.     

Hugo Kleinbrod Kapelle

foto: Harald Geiger


architect: Hugo Dworzak      

location: Lustenau (AT)       

completed: 2007      

This mobile chapel follows the SC Austria Lustenau football club, and was designed to fit the dimensions of a typical parking space. The chapel has a wood structure and polycarbonate exterior, allowing a soft interior light during the day. Since the chapel only holds 10, the walls can tilt up as canopies during larger services. If you want to get married at an away game, this may be the chapel for you!      

capilla lago rupanco


foto: Ignacio Infante


architect: F3 Arquitectos      

location: Lago Rupanco (CL)       

completed: 2006      

The backdrop for this chapel is an incredible landscape. Wood is used for the floor, walls and roof for an amazingly minimal effect. An outdoor platform allows for additional ceremony space. The projected windows house sculptures created by the owner. Like many others, the form is a play on classical typologies, and we rather like this pared-down simplicity – which helps to also keep down costs. This is a place where meditation and contemplation must come readily.


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