Sant'Elena Chapel

Categories
Landscape, Architecture, 

Location
Italy

Timeline
2021

Size
60sqm
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Copyright of STUDIO SINTAA 

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St’ Elena Chapel is a sacred space designed for the local diocese in Arco, Trento in 2021. 

Our desire was to create a simple chapel that could blend with the landscaping and at the same time the aim was to design a religious building able to create a human/building/nature interaction.  

The elevation is a reference to the wood logs piling used in the local area to store the wood, with timber beams and circular timber logs stacked together. 

The entire structure is made of Pino Cembro, a tree sourced locally. Our desire was to create a sustainable building, both in terms of local materials and fast construction. 

The space is designed as one single room where the opening and closing of the round panels create the physical delimitation of the chapel. These round panels can be manually rotated to control the amount of light inside. 

Each panel has a little cross engraved in the middle. The carved cross lets the light penetrate inside even when the panels are closed. The cross of light also contains a higher religious meaning. 

The Architecture of the chapel can be translated into three words: wood, light and shadow. 

The chapel’s base is a coarse, solid slab made of concrete, similar to the altar and the benches, both made of unpolished concrete in situ. 

The solidity of the “podium” works in contrast with the transparency of the building.  

The roof is made of vertical and horizontal timber studs fixed in a similar way as the walls. A simple polycarbonate sheet fixed on top of the roof protects the chapel from the rain and snow while the overall  building maintains the idea of an open-air mountain chapel. 

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