Chapel in Tarnow / Beton


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

beton_church_2 beton_church_6 beton_church_8 beton_church_10

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 , 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).

exploded axo
exploded axo


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…

Cite: "Chapel in Tarnow / Beton" 06 Nov 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • Adi

    Nice & Simple! But where’s BETON? :)

  • sretrahc

    studio name…

  • antti

    Fantastic!! Simple but full of expression. Nice contrast between the simple outer shape and the very beautiful inner structures. I want to go there NOW!

  • monika

    congratulations!idea for five plus :)

  • Adam B

    Leszek&Marta- congratulations from AB i AF.

  • MAya

    Tim Burton should love this project…great team….



  • unlikelymoose

    I love how the timber beams and the altar window structure form a sea of crosses from the vantage point of the pews

  • eb

    A+ That pict with the snowy landscape in the background makes me want to be there!

  • 1lunoxod

    I like this!
    Просто и со вкусом!

  • hjm

    There are differences between elevations and photos.
    looks little bit different about joints of pillars & beam isn’t it?


    Beton’ www ROCKS too, SADLY I can’t understand a word.

  • Tanja

    I wish I could live in this space.

  • Virginia

    wonderfull… so nice and simply

  • Pingback: simple & tranquil « serendipity

  • Dashen

    I love this scale of building. It’s more architectural.

  • Pingback: Rowlind [dot] Info News : | AD Round Up: Religious Architecture Part IV

  • Jaro Kukucka

    Sunday place to contemplate #architecture #concrete

  • Pingback: Elevating the Discourse: Chapels pt. 1 « brute force collaborative

  • Pingback: | beton: kaple v Tarnowě |

  • dog_race
    Chapel in Tarnow / Beton | ArchDaily

  • Rich

    A simple, beautiful and elegant building! Does anybody know what those cables running along the edges of the building are for?

    • Jack

      Those cables are part of lightning protection

  • dj intro


  • richA

    Can someone give a precise description of how to get there or the address?