Main News White Church: Poetry in the Mundane

White Church: Poetry in the Mundane

>White Church: Poetry in the Mundane

The 2014 World Architecture Festival (WAF) has culminated with A21 studio’s The Chapel being named the Building of the Year. Each winner of the categories from day 1 and day 2 had the opportunity to present their projects in front of WAF’s ‘super-jury’, comprised of Richard Rogers,Rocco Yim, Julie Eizenberg, Enric Ruiz Geli and Peter Rich. Following all of the presentations, the jury selected the Building of the Year.

The Chapel is a community space in a new urban ward on the outskirt of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. As a result of estate crisis, the surrounding area is lacking communal centers; therefore, the Chapel is designed to be the place for people to participate in activities such as conferences, weddings and exhibitions. The Chapel takes advantage of materials from the owner’s previous projects such as steel frames and metal sheets.

Moreover, by using steel as the main structure material, it not only makes the foundation lighter, but also helps shorten the construction period than normal, and saving cost as well. The portal frame is made by dual 40×80 steel columns with 40x40 steel braces connecting to white painted metal sheets; so from a distance look, the building appears as a white chapel.

However, the available steels are not strong enough; columns and beams are considered to stabilize for the entire building. A tree shaped steel column with 90x90 steel bars is applied to be the only structure that appears inside the Chapel. This either gives an aesthetic look to the Chapel or saves more space on the ground for different activities. Inside, the chapel is the single space covered by a pure white. The multi-layer colorful curtains are orderly arranged and placed in the opens to add more colors to the entire space as well as soften the coldness of the metal frames. In addition to nature feelings, wood in its rustic look are also applied for floor and furniture.

Commending the winning project on behalf of the festival’s superjury, Paul Finch, WAF Programme Director, said “The judges felt this was a project that embraced history and modernity, and created a dialogue in the process. It has created maximum effect with minimum materials and has produced an unexpected change of pace in its urban context. The opportunity has been taken to recycle and rethink materials and site, and a series of design issues have been addressed which have produced a small project that makes a big statement. Colour and light have been deployed to put people at ease and the architect has found poetry in the mundane.