Sacred Places Summer 2022 - Page 24

Chapel of St . Agatha Rukomo village , Nyagatare , Rwanda
• Theoklis Kanarelis , architect
The Chapel of St . Agatha is a proposed Catholic worship place situated on the riverbanks near Rukomo village in Northeast Rwanda ’ s Nyagatare District . The chapel ’ s two-story , concrete parallelogram can shelter more than 200 people . Over the course of the day , the concrete “ wreath ” that unites the walls projects a shadow over them . According to the architect , the theoretical approach in this design is that sacred space cannot be contained in the ordinary . The space is meant to articulate the concept : “ Man cannot live without faith , just as he cannot live without air .” Nevertheless , the sacred is a decidedly separate realm from the secular . Clearly articulated , walled-off spaces communicate this severance in the chapel .
“ In response to the hot climate , this sanctuary of darkness and shade offers a cool place for contemplation . It manipulates light in a very mature way over the course of the day .
It ’ s heavily experiential , with non-traditional shapes , but they have a timeless quality at the same time . There is no ‘ front ’ or ‘ back ’ on this church ; it is very sculptural .”
Intertwined Eternities Aptos , California
• John Marx , Form4 Architecture
This columbarium in a seaside community is proposed for the drought-tolerant gardens of an Episcopal church . A choreographed sequence of open-air stone pavilions , the columbarium reads like a meeting of intertwining outdoor rooms . The weight and sense of permanence offered by its high stone walls contrasts with the lightness and ever-changing seasonality of the surrounding landscape framed by picturesque apertures punctuating the walls .
The interlaced form of the architecture alludes to the endless number of different journeys taken through life by individuals who nevertheless belong to a connected humankind . Likewise , the space offers a conception of death as a return to nature . Each wall points to the next , emphasizing a sense of dynamism . The architect hoped to create a space that , while suggesting movement , is also eternal and fixed .
Six arced segments define the space . They can be read as two intersecting sinusoidal curves that create almond-shaped outdoor areas , as well as a labyrinth of stone walls creating a path of discoveries . Hundreds of urns are arranged according to a random pattern , conferring additional resonance to the texture emerging from the sunlight gracing its ragged stone surfaces .
“ Columbaria are usually very static compositions . This project uses curved geometry in a columbarium that is anything but orthogonal . It offers a journey to explore , lending an organic quality to its sense of place . The architecture sensitively responds to the rolling nature of the location . It is very poetic .”
Form4 Architecture / Downtown