Text description provided by the architects. The Chosen Children Village Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of a home environment for physically and mentally challenged children. The Foundation approached us to design a chapel for their community that would be buildable within a tight budget, responsive to the extreme climatic conditions of the island, and integrated with the surrounding tropical landscape.
The Chapel marks the entry to the Foundation’s campus. It needed to be at once open and accessible, and capable of being closed for security. Our response is a simple pavilion created out of a single line that folds back on itself in plan. The walls bend and fold as they wrap the common space; this not only gives measure to the interior, creating a sense of expansiveness on a restricted site, it also gives the structure an intrinsic lateral resisting capacity. The vocabulary derives from inherent plasticity of cast-in-place concrete. Within the depth of the wall, the closely spaced piers are shifted in plan to open up gaps within the wall’s thickness. These gaps are infilled with a double-mitered concrete panel so that indirect light can enter. On the exterior, these structural elements create contrapuntal rhythm of columns and clerestories, while inside in the 7-meter high space, shadows play against fragments of the sky beyond.
The CCV Chapel is an elemental building: a simple sheltered enclosure, made out of one material, and porous to the weather. The building has no HVAC and no glazing; the random stone paving (typical of urban public spaces), runs consistently from the exterior throughout the interior. When it rains, the water comes in and drains along the floor. When the large screen-like pivot doors are open the entire site is unified, bringing into play the small plaza in front and the large Acacia tree which was preserved during construction. A calm and focused space for worship is created at the same time as the building has a welcoming public presence.