Tucked beneath the dense trees of Al-Ozer Forest in Mount Lebanon, Byblos-based architects and visual artists of JPAG Atelier created a secluded retreat away from humans and the chaos of the urban life. The Earth Chapel is a unique sanctuary that lets its visitors experience both the simplicity of the architecture and the richness of the surrounding landscapes, all at once.
The purity and simplicity of the function of this project is translated in its minimal design. The chapel's structure consists of a perforated wooden façade, allowing the surrounding landscape to enter into the interior space and become a part of it. Along with the landscape, the facade's openings allow the sunrays to sneak into the interior, illuminating the holy space and ornamenting it with the shadows of the surrounding tree branches. During the night, the radiant interior casts a warm glow from the chapel into the dense forest, radiating the surrounding like a campfire.
To reinforce the sense of holiness and disconnection, the structure is elevated 1.6 meters above the ground level. Visitors can only enter the chapel by bowing their heads, as a sign of respect to the holy space. In addition, a buffer-zone was implemented to separate the outdoors from the interior space, and to create a sense of filtration between the outer world and the holy space.
The chapel's minimal architecture gives it flexibility in a sense that it can be placed in any forest, altering its height and form based on the surrounding trees and sun orientation.
JPAG Atelier (Jean-Paul Al Hachem) was selected among the winners of ArchDaily's 2020 Architectural Visualizations Award.