Architectural Project Information
Project Name: Wooden Chapel
Architect: John Pawson
Project Team: Jan Hobel, Eleni Koryzi, Max Gleeson
Location: Unterliezheim, 89440 Lutzingen, Germany
Area Space: 30.0 square metres
Project Year: 2018
Photographer：Photography Felix Friedmann
Client：Siegfried and Elfriede Denzel Foundation
Constructor：Gumpp & Maier
Timber Sponsorship: Dinesen
Cross Glass: Franz Mayer of Munich
In collaboration with: the Siegfried and Elfriede Denzel Foundation, Dinesen, Gumpp & Maier
As a company specializing in architectural visualization, Aimir CG is glad to provide you with the latest information on architectural design and innovations. John Pawson has always regarded church construction as part of the spiritual and architectural landscape. Entrusted by the Siegfried & Elfriede Denzel Foundation, he designed and built a roadside wooden chapel in southwestern Germany using 61 douglas fir logs. The project on the seven Churches like Sieben Kapellen is intended to provide riders with a range of places where they can hide, rest and meditate.
“The architecture is framed as the simplest of gestures,” explains Pawson. “From certain perspectives, its mass appears as a pile of logs stacked up to dry; from others, the considered placement of the elements on a concrete plinth creates a more formal impression of a piece of sculpture emerging from the forest.”
The wooden chapel has been constructed using 61 douglas fir logs
image by Eckhart Matthäus © Siegfried and Elfriede Denzel Foundation
The common design principle of the seven churches is to procure the wooden structure and set up crosses and seats nearby.
The first time Pawson came to the site, he quickly developed a design idea. He believes people should use the church as a transition point rather than a traditional building work between the forest and the open space. As a result, the building is framed in the simplest state. In some ways, its volume is just like wood piled up to dry. In addition, the building is placed on a concrete foundation to create a more formal impression for the sculpture.
Building a church with solid wood is reasonable in church settings. With the expertise and cooperation of Dinesen from Danish company, Pawson decided to minimize the level of intervention in wood. Pawson and Dinesen have had a cooperative relationship for many years. The opening on the façade emphasizes the thickness of the wood, and the narrow entrance deliberately recreates the physical closeness people encounter as they walk through the dense woods.
Inside the church, the chopped wood reveals a direct glow–warm hues, tactile surfaces, and sawn patterns. The light is deliberately designed to drop very low. The narrow skylight is set high to control the inflow of natural light and gently go down through space along both sides of the church. The resulting dim environment has led people to focus on the other two light sources, a stained-glass cross set high above the end of the wall and an opening without a glass mounting at the lower. It vividly frames the view of the outer landscape, facing the church spire of the nearby village Unterliezheim.
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