RWANDA, EAST AFRICA
RWANDA CHAPEL COMPETITION
The proposed Chapel is a place of harmony, peace and beauty. A space that encourages and increases ones faith, where everything appears pure, charming, organic and natural.
The chapel is born from a strong relationship with the context. It is a
refuge and a core for the community, a place of celebration, and a meeting point for laypeople and religious orders. Sitting subtley within the existing landscape, it peaks out from above the trees, taking claim to the land.
While enriching the area, the chapel has become a monument and an architectural reference point that acknowledges Rwanda’s natural landscapes. The carved pathway within the terrain creates a link between the existing convent and the new chapel: it is a connection that follows the natural path of the area and is a reference to the Rwandan terracing hills.The shape of this space and its position on the top of the designated hill is generated from the natural forms of the surrounding area. When within this confined carved space you are greeted with a low and enchanting view over the lush hills that define the Rwandan landscape. Though the chapel itself can accommodate and seat at least 100 people, when necessary for larger audiences this carved outdoor space and it’s naturally cascading benches can be utilised to extend the liturgy to the wider community.
We have proposed a contemporary and forward-looking solution for the chapels materiality. Research and analyses about Rwandan building materials has shown us that bamboo grows easily in this country and there is large support for brick production. We have therefore chosen for our project to utilise both bamboo and bricks for the construction of the two main walls, being that they are locally sourced and the community already have recognisable knowledge of the products and their construction methods. The eastern wall, made from the vertical bamboo lengths, protrudes from a pool of water, emphasizing its growth from the earth as a natural material, nestling the chapel in amongst its surroundings. In contrast, the opposing
western wall, being more curvaceous in form, has been moulded from white brick. This wall can be seen as symbolic of Rwanda’s future and overall desire to create an iconic building of the 21st century. Together these two walls form a union. Respecting both Rwanda’s history and nature-focused location while looking forward to its coming and desired future.
Competition Team: MCAS + Sabrina Sparano