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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Farewell Chapel, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Modern chapel provides peaceful place for rest and contemplation
Recently completed in a village close to Ljubljana is Farewell Chapel. Situated next to a graveyard, the chapel is cut into the rising landscape following the lines of the landscape trajectories around the burial grounds.

The people of Krasnja approached OFIS ARHITEKTI to design a building with limited financial means, just 180,000€, that could provide a farewell space for mourning families, a kitchenette, wardrobes, storage for the cemetery and space for a large waste material container.

"The challenge was the program of the sacred object itself, integration into the landscape and its position at the hill-foot," said lead architect Spela Videcnik. "Also working with a local community that are simple people with their own 'expectations of architecture' was an extra challenge. Of course they expected something else and we had several attempts to change the roof of the chapel into a generic pitched roof."

However on completion, says Videcnik, the locals were very accepting. The design was achieved using three curved walls to embrace and divide the programs. The external curve divides the surrounding hill from the chapel plateau and also reinstates the main supporting wall. The storage spaces, wardrobe restrooms and kitchenette are on the inner side along the wall.

The internal curve embraces the main farewell space. It is partly glazed and opens towards the outside plateau for summer gatherings. The main feature of the space is the ecclesiastical symbolism of the Catholic cross carved out of the roof. During the day sunlight enters its glazed crevice illuminating the inside of the building. At night when artificially lit it adds a beacon and emblem for the chapel.

Materials are polished concrete, larch wood, glass.
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