This is not a project for a chapel: it is a reflection on this theme developed by a respectful architect who is not a believer. An architect guided by the intuition that any chapel is already inherently the physical embodiment of an idea, or a symbol, rather than a building truly intended as a space of ritual. Leaving aside examples it would be most correct to refer to as small churches, nevertheless capable of hosting a religious function (Asplund’s chapel, for example), or noble or cemeterial examples with the primary function of social representation, we are left with the others, the majority: isolated in cities or in the countryside; the most fascinating, beloved and problematic. Too small to host a mass, except outside and to commemorate a particular anniversary, even when they contain an altar and in some cases an indispensable ambone (or lectern), they are all characterised by a dedication and, in almost all cases, a corresponding icon. This is what they speak of to those who happen upon them, invited to pause and consider the life of a saint, a miracle, an event (or, in the Orthodox world, a site, made special by nature or history). At the same time, without actually being a church, they represent, condense or allude to one: in some cases a true, almost naïve miniature and yet often extraordinarily effective. This was the theme I attempted to work with.
The design is missing something essential, the first item mentioned: a dedication; I felt it would be unfitting to invent one. The second possibility remains: representing a church (Catholic), or better yet, as mentioned, alluding to it. So the objective was not to define a space that invites generic meditation, directed who knows where. Instead, it invites a precise consideration, almost exclusively architectural and necessarily abstract, of the meaning of sacred spaces, of their proportions, relations and functions: what is the relationship between the hall and the presbytery? What is the role of natural light? Etcetera. To achieve this, I considered it necessary to abstain from an exuberance of form, and to work with elementary and pared down spaces and materials that are also practically abstract.