Architecture Monday

Sculptural, but still spatial. That was one of my first thoughts of this chapel in Finland by Sanaksenaho Architects. It’s also a very simple affair, and when things are stripped down to that level of simplicity, much like Tadao Ando’s works*, the quality (or lack thereof) of the space really takes prominence. And here, that quality is golden.

The rhythm of the wood beams, rising to a well proportioned pointed arch as they march down towards the luminous apse, hits you immediately upon entering, reinforced by the horizontal lines of the wall planks also pointing towards the end. In this way, the space feels both soaring (with the strong verticals of the arches) as well as ensconcing you snugly inside its warm confines. The band of windows at the apse work their magic to fill the space with diffuse, and again warm, light. It invites sitting, experiencing, and reflection.

Outside, the copper skin reflects the countryside (for now – it will patina). Details are vital to simple structures, and the diagonal patterning of the copper cladding keeps the form alive and dynamic, enhancing the way it embraces the countryside.

Nicely done. A strong image and concept rendered beautifully through simple and well refined moves, and an excellent sense of scale and proportion. Another entry on my list of spaces I’d like to visit and experience.


* Contrast too to the exquisite complexity of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia…