John Pawson

Wooden Chapel . Unterliezheim

John Pawson . Wooden Chapel . Unterliezheim afasia (3)

John Pawson . photos: © Photography Felix Friedmann . + archdaily

Wooden Chapel shot by Felix Friedmann.

When John Pawson was commissioned by the Siegfried and Elfriede Denzel Foundation to design a wayside chapel for a site in southwestern Germany, he became part of a longstanding tradition of erecting chapels as spiritual and architectural features in the landscape. The purpose of the Sieben Kapellen or Seven Chapels project is to provide cyclists with a series of places in which to take shelter, but also to pause and reflect.

A common brief for all of the seven chapels stipulated a timber construction, with a cross in the vicinity and provision of seating.

During his first visit to the site, Pawson quickly formed the intention that people should encounter the chapel as a found object at the transitional point between the forest and open ground, rather than as a conventional work of architecture. The structure is thus framed as the simplest of gestures. From certain perspectives its mass appears as a pile of logs stacked up to dry; from others, the considered placement of the elements on a concrete plinth creates a more formal impression of a piece of sculpture.