|Project Name||Suzhou Chapel||Posted in||Religious||Location||
199 Yangchenghuan Road, Yangcheng Lake
|Design Studio||Neri&Hu Design and Research Office||Area (sqm)||700||Completed||September 2016|
Peaceful and solemn, the pure white volume of this chapel in Suzhou, China, invites the visitor to approach, enter and pray. Designed by Shanghai-based studio Neri&Hu, the chapel is a prominent new addition to the village’s skyline, visible both from the main street and the adjacent lake. The project includes the main chapel volume, along with a network of corridors around it, which create interesting geometrical relationships between them and add suspense to the visitor’s journey towards the main building. The walls of these corridors are covered with recycled grey brick, while the cube of the main chapel is covered with white metal sheets that glow serenely during the day and are subtly illuminated at night. The metal-clad exterior of this cube which is the building’s most prominent feature creates an interesting interplay between visible and hidden, interior and exterior.
Inside, grey brick has also been used for the lower parts of the building, while wood has been used for the upper parts of the chapel’s structure. An impressive louvered form with a gabled ceiling dominates the main space, reminiscent of the pointed, high ceilings of traditional Christian churches. Wood dominates throughout, also used on the walls to improve acoustics, since the space is also used as an events venue. Neri&Hu provided custom designed wooden furniture and lighting for the project, also paying extra attention to other details that incorporate brass and concrete. A staircase inside the chapel has window openings providing provide unexpected views outside; this leads up to the rooftop, where visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the lake, and be more at one with the surrounding nature.