UK firm steyn studio has completed the design of a chapel in south africa’s western cape province. set within a vineyard, the building’s sculptural form mirrors the outline of the surrounding mountain ranges, while simultaneously referencing the region’s distinctive cape dutch architecture. noticeably designed without a traditional spire, the roof canopy has been constructed from a slim, concrete cast shell.
designed by south african-born coetzee steyn of steyn studio, the undulating roof of ‘bosjes chapel’ rises and falls dramatically. expanses of glazing, formed where each wave of the canopy rises to a peak, are adjoined by symbolic crosses. elevated on a plinth, the crisp white form is bordered by a reflective pond positioned to emphasize its apparent weightlessness. the building is also flanked by a lush vineyard and pomegranate orchard.
internally, a large, open assembly space has been formed within a simple rectangular plan. the whitewashed ceiling casts an array of shadows throughout the day, while polished terazzo floors help reflect light. a neutral material palette not only allows parishioners to focus on prayer, but also enables the framed views of the surrounding landscape to take prominence.
in order to maintain the purity of the scheme’s structural form, the architects chose to hide elements of the building’s functional program discretely within the plinth, or even inside the outer corners of the adjacent garden. designed to be a welcoming and inviting structure, the chapel extends outwards into the valley, embracing its natural setting.