Recently destroyed by the 2010 Earthquake, Port-au-Prince’s new design for the National Cathedral is presented as an absolute plain wall of concrete which expresses the true character of the construction. Designed by NC-Office, the concrete material is not only structurally appropriate, but it also produces a somber cool space that absorbs light – forming an architecture of shadows. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Lifted above the new concrete nave a ghosted cross – clad in salvaged stone – is raised up to the heavens, expressing the remains of the existing church. Light enters the nave at the level of the pews connecting the worshiper to the earth. These are open-air voids with operable wood louvers allowing for natural cross ventilation. A mystifying light enters from above along the south wall casting a glow onto the mass of the vaulted ceiling.
The north transept acts as the Blessed Sacrament chapel open to the sky with a full louvered wall illuminating the crossing of the nave. The light effect culminates as a void sliver is caught between two curved masses casting a divine light onto the altar. This construction leads the observer to feel no other sentiment than those genuinely appropriate to the subject matter.