Chapel of Light, Vaal University of Technology
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The brief called for a non-denominational chapel. The siting of the Chapel of Light between the PoMo student hostels and the reinforced brutalist concrete institution of learning sets a moment of calm and delight in the most unlikely of contexts.
Conceptually the Chapel is a double volumed hall whose parasol roof is extended to shade a series of walls defining a sequence of entry spaces. The composition is held together by a detached vestry and ablution facillities.
The Chapel creates external spaces which invite pausing moments for everyday passers-by, and for contemplation, a nearby lake with its grove of eucalyptus trees set against the highveld sky. It is thus essentially an African building, capturing and making special the experience of landscape and of place as independent from but ancillary to the chapel space.
There seems to be nothing one can add, or take away from either in its massing or layering from a remarkably sophisticated yet restrained building, appropriately detailed and realized to a tight budget. Limited means seems to ilicit a resourcefulness which in itself has its own poetry.
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