the world's most visited architecture website

Chapel in Tarnow / Beton

  • Architects: Beton
  • Location: Tarnów, Poland
  • Architect: Beton / Marta Rowińska & Lech Rowiński
  • Building Team: Local Semi-Professional Builders
  • Investor: Well-known Polish Writer
  • Project Year: 2009
  • Photographs: Beton

© Beton © Beton © Beton © Beton

From the architect. It is a small, wooden church built on a high bank of Vistula River, in a small village of Tarnów, by a private investor (which is quite uncommon in Poland). The church serves as a place of meditation and prayer for the local community. It is constructed entirely of wood, with no windows except for one glass wall, which serves as a background for the altar. Inside, you can find your peace by looking through the wall at the river and the distant horizon. The steep, wooden roof transforms unnoticeable into the side walls - the whole covering is made of the same material - small asp chops laid in a pattern).

© Beton
© Beton

Everything tries to find its balance between being simple, delicate and really strong. Building the church had also a “side” purpose: to bring the local community together. It was built by not very skilled workers, so the technology had to be really simple. Concrete slab as a foundation, timber structure as the main “spine” of the building and the wooden cladding. There is almost no detail, no fancy elements. This is also a kind of experiment - how to create a certain quality of space with the use of rudimentary technical simplicity. The investor, who is a quite well-known Polish writer, decided to save this small bit of the Vistula bank from becoming an another wild beach with a cheap bar on the side. A church is something people still respect, so presenting it to them in such an unexpected scenery, draws their minds to new, unexpected thoughts...

© Beton
© Beton
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite:"Chapel in Tarnow / Beton" 06 Nov 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>