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

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 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).

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 17 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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!

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

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

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

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

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