Venice Biennale highlight: The Morning Chapel
A pop-up contemplative space
by Flores i Prats
The Morning Chapel is one of the 10 projects constructed by an international selection of architects for the Vatican Pavilion, curated by Francesco Dal Co as part of La Biennale di Venezia 2018. It was designed by Barcelona-based studio Flores i Prats, headed by Spanish architect Eva Prats and Argentinian architect Ricardo Flores.
The chapel is located in the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, a garden with radial walks starting at Palladio’s Center and leading towards a lagoon.
One of those paths has now the chapel as neighbor, with a wall parallel to it an a door offering to “step aside from the common route and move into the forest, abandoning the known destiny offered by these lineal paths in favor of the unknown, at risk of disorientation”.
This project was named after its purpose to receive and frame the first sunlight of the day through a circular hole in its wall. Capturing the first ray of light was only possible due to it’s location at the eastern part of the island.
In the end, the chapel is a place to gather and contemplate nature. It is constantly watching the beauty, delicacy and yet greatness of the forest, the lagoon and the sun, while offering its visitors all the necessary resistance from weathering.
The 10 projects together make The Holly See, Vatican’s 1st production at the Biennale, with a brief that asked for places of shelter designed for orientation, encounter, mediation, and salutation. They will be dismounted at the end of the event and than resettled at different points of the world. Some of the other architects who also display their work at The Holly See are Norman Foster, Carla Juaçaba, Smiljan Radic and Eduardo Souto de Moura.
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