chapel in Rwanda
Young Architects Competitions
Paola Zatti + Victor Deplus
Church as a place to pray, gather and feel in peace.
Three curved and solid walls anchored to the ground. They invite believers to enter the building through their sinuous shapes. The walls are made of structural rammed earth, the same earth that gives the Rwandan community the resources to live. A fascinating ancient technique applied to a contemporary monument.
Once in the chapel, the Rwandan prayer is surrounded by a simple and sober atmosphere. The light, symbolic and omnipresent element in catholic churches, enlightens the space from the East, through the staircase façade. The space is completely wrapped by the same unique color: the color of the earth.
The red walls are not just protecting the inner space, place of silence, recollection and meditation but also the surrounding area thanks to their concave curves. The chapel aims to be, rather than just a building, a reference point for the entire community, with outdoor experiences. Walking along these walls the church reveals a staircase, which leads to the upper level: a space for gathering or for outdoor celebrations. Here the space taken from the earth by the church is given back through its green roof, an extension of the landscape.
The chapel has to be considered as part of the surrounding nature, a natural monument made of local materials, local handwork and simple technologies.