Chapel

Winner of invited competition for design of new chapel on the grounds of a County Mayo Castle. The scheme provides a contemporary response to the brief and site responding to the natural and spiritual elements of the project, the design provides a bridge between the spiritual and physical.

The building is seen as a structure, which responds to and is enveloped by the woodland slowly revealing itself to the user. It is located at the end of the Broad Walk acting as a simple focal point within the trees, concealing the majority of its form within the woodland.

At the entrance, a portion of the Broad Walk is raised over a new shallow pool to form a ramp entry to a recessed door in the trees to the Chapel. This ramp begins to remove the body from the physical and ascend it to a higher power/state of mind. By raising the Broad Walk, the journey along the walk becomes part of the spiritual experience.

On entering the Chapel, one first passes through a sensory (air) lock. This space has little or no light when the doors are closed, thus suppressing the visual sense heightening the other senses. The sensory lock further separates the body from the world outside before entering the main Chapel.

The main Chapel focuses all the views to a backdrop of the dense woodland which envelopes the building, refocusing the mind on nature and ever-changing light, sounds and smells of nature. All materials are natural and tactile encouraging the user to not only smell, see, hear but to touch also.

Light cells are incorporated into the side of walls allowing one to retreat further into a private space which is toplit, bringing light from above into the heart of the Chapel.

Not only does the building bridge over the landscape, touching the ground at two pointing by responding to the forces of the landscape and natural forces, but also a bridge between the physical and spiritual.

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