Switzerland’s first motorway chapel

houses surrounded by mountains

515 Autobahnkirche Andeer designed by Herzog & de Meuron

The thought for the chapel in Andeer needed to emerge from the positioning alone, from the situation, from the highway. Architectural agency Herzog & de Meuron didn’t want to work with specific non secular indicators or symbols, even much less with Christian symbols equivalent to a cross or representations of Christ, as a substitute they appeared for a design that may sharpen guestsnotion of the situation and the pure atmosphere.

Statistics present that motorway chapels take pleasure in nice recognition, however it’s nonetheless stunning that the neighborhood of Andeer determined to construct one the place there are already a number of chapels within the space; constructed centuries in the past they lie embedded within the panorama.

The venture was difficult to Herzog & de Meuron as a result of neither the spatial program nor the situation had been clearly outlined. Ultimately the event of the architectural idea acquired form in the midst of a number of conferences and fruitful, candid conversations with representatives of the neighborhood and the pastor of Andeer.

As a result of the situation was adjoining to a motorway, the potential noise concern needed to be addressed. One thing extra elaborate than a single door separating the within and out of doors acoustically needed to be conceived. Ultimately what was produced had been a sequence of areas, of various and distinct chambers, just like the human ear. Impressed by the practical design of the human ear, however not restricted by it, Herzog & de Meuron began out with a form as summary as attainable like a stable white dice, with quite a lot of zones defining its advanced interior life. This introverted design dampened sounds from the motorway and elevated audibility of customer’s personal footsteps the deeper they ventured. When reaching the final room, robust daylight streams into the guts of the chapel the place individuals can take pleasure in panoramic views of the panorama, the village, and the plush inexperienced meadows and woods. Notion of the vegetation is heightened by the complementary purple of a room-height pane of tinted glass. The solar, setting within the night, shines by means of the purple glass into this final portion of the chapel, which leads on to the panorama exterior. The architecture was designed to strengthen notion, from a view of the sky, focus whereas studying, or the reception of sounds, exterior and inner, from footsteps to respiration. Nonetheless, the closed dice design was missing, or moderately too airtight and too architectural, to be absolutely passable but.

Aspiring to create an area that wasn’t an enclosed architectural quantity, Herzog & de Meuron inadvertently designed the chapel to be extra like a path coming from exterior, passing by means of a sequence of particular rooms, after which main immediately outdoor once more. With out aspiring to create a path, the agency satirically established one, like a passage by means of an organism or cave. The final room with the purple pane of glass opens up right into a cave-like oval, paying homage to the early Christian or heathen websites that archaeologists have found within the neighboring neighborhood of Zillis. Alongside the funnel formed earth house, guests discover two different small chapels, the primary for readers, with even daylight coming into the spherical room from above and the second with a candle, a matte, reflecting wall, and a single skylight. That is probably the most private place for guests; right here they’re confronted with themselves.

The earth room is conceived as a sequence of chapels with a ground-level exit dealing with west in addition to entry from above, down a broad, snail-shaped flight of stairs. The latter is just like the spherical opening of a dome which was left unenclosed like a backyard or courtyard; the partitions simply lean towards one another, leaning and supporting on the identical time. Certainly one of them stands upright, virtually just like the wall of a choir, a easy playful gesture Herzog & de Meuron integrated.