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Herzog & de Meuron unveils design for Switzerland’s first motorway chapel
Switzerland Architecture News - Feb 21, 2020 - 13:44 2851 views
Called The Autobahnkirche, the studio takes cues from "the concept of the medieval wayside chapel" and tries to adapt it to modern needs. These churches offer travellers a place of rest, silence and prayer. The concept is already established in the neighbouring countries: in Germany alone, there are 46 Autobahnkirchen.
The Autobahnkirche consists of an above-ground chapel, visible from afar, which is composed of four walls of equal height and at right angles, that just lean against each other; they lean and support at the same time.
In the underground, the studio created a sequence of three earth rooms - or chapels, the snail-shaped chapels are connected with flights of stairs from ground level.
Along the funnel-shaped earth space, visitors find two other small chapels: the first for readers, with even daylight coming into the round room from above and the second with a candle, a matte, reflecting wall, and a single skylight.
Finally, a last room opens a panoramic view of the landscape, the village, and the lush green meadows and woods. Perception of the vegetation is heightened by the complementary red of a room-height pane of tinted glass.
"The project is unusual for us because neither the spatial program nor the location were clearly defined. The idea for the chapel in Andeer had to emerge from the site alone, from the location, from the road," said Jacques Herzog, co-founder and principal of Herzog & de Meuron.
"We were looking for architecture that would sharpen the perception of visitors - of the location, the natural environs, and even of the way they see themselves."
This project, which is unique in the Viamala region, is to be financed on a private basis. The donated funds are to be brought into a foundation, the sole purpose of which is the establishment and the operation of the motorway church Andeer - Val Schons, stated Andeer - Val Schons.
Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
All images courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron
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