A Chapel in the Vineyard | France
Sat on the side of a granitic Hillock, The Chapel was realized as a private order in 2014. This project uses the surrounding landscape as an opportunity for contemplation, while offering a new paradigm in chapel design.
The Chapel is located at the heart of a vineyard, in the Anjou region, France. To reconcile the landscape with the need for enclosure, the project reinvents the notion of reredos (back wall standing behind the altar): the cross usually standing above the altar is sent back into the landscape, on the other side of the vineyard, and the reredos replaced by a glazed bay. As a result, the landscape is now part of the scenery, and the prayers in the chapel are invited to contemplate the Nature, as it hosts the cross throughout the year. The reredos now becomes an ever-evolving canvas where the vineyard and the cross form together a single scenery.
At night, to secure the chapel, a folding screen is used to close the main bay. Working with Veronique Charpy, we created an exterior openwork screen, patterned with bulrush designs. This screen offers a more figurative piece to the chapel, while securing the building at night. The granitic topography is then used, to host steps. Following a traditional method, the slope is carved to create a central stair and sits on both sides.
The Chapel offers a new possibility for chapel design, where the outdoor becomes part of the spiritual experience, where the Nature gets invited into the prayers’ journey.