Sacred Places Summer 2022 - Page 19

The Holy Redeemer Church and Community Centre of Las Chumberas Tenerife , Canary Islands , Spain
• Fernando Menis , architect
The church is meant to serve as a catalyst for change in an area that has been underserved for years . By serving as an urban gathering place , the Holy Redeemer Church and Community Centre helps forge a new identity for the local community . Four massive volumes resembling large rocks rise from the site . The steep topography requires a perimeter ramp for access to the square and to the second floor of the church . The openings between the volumes admit air and daylight . The building appears austere , while the overhead light flows down to reveal the richness of textures and imbues the interior with a mystical atmosphere .
By employing concrete , a common building material in the area , the designers were able to work with local companies and achieve practical goals and aesthetic effects . The energy efficiency provided by concrete is reinforced by the thermal inertia of the thick solid walls . For the acoustic quality of the spaces , raw concrete both diffuses and absorbs sounds . To accomplish this effect ,
the surface of the raw concrete was mixed with light and porous volcanic stone ( picón ) and chipped away . The acoustics are comparable to an opera house , suitable for singing and speech . The architect ’ s sketches and models of this church are included in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art , New York .
“ This is an amazing work . It appears as if blocks of stone have been chiseled and hollowed out to create spiritual spaces in their use of light and texture . It creates intimacy and warmth . The interior surfaces also enhance the acoustics . Structural components are expressive . There is particular attention on acoustics and daylighting .”
Patricia Cámpora , Simona Rota , Photographers
Sohelou St . Marc Catholic Chapel Sohelou Village , Tak , Thailand
• Only Human , architect
Sohelou Village is in an agricultural area that lives almost completely off the grid , without electricity . The village ’ s topography slopes down slightly , giving way to a forest below . On this low site , the chapel cantilevers out to the horizon .
The chapel emulates the characteristics of vernacular timber houses . Long , low openings provide diffused daylight , and a cruciform opening on the roof translates into a cross of light that slowly moves around the interior . People are welcomed into the light-infused space with uninterrupted views of endless rolling hills .
The exterior materials , steel and copper , will age in time , while the interior materials , a reclaimed wooden floor and plywood walls , create warmth . Construction was made possible by the local builders and villagers from an array of faith traditions .
“ A stunning site , which the chapel has a symbiotic relationship to . The interiors are particularly striking — the way the building admits light and evokes the experience of the Cross , created with light as well as shadow . The interior creates a frame for experiencing the verdant outdoor environment .”
ACKI Photography