Greek Chapel

James Gorst Architects, Mykonos, 2014

 

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A private Greek Orthodox chapel on the island of Mykonos

The brief was to design and build a private chapel on the Cycladic island of Mykonos.

A simple series of sculptural pavilions are connected around an open courtyard garden to form this contemporary Greek Orthodox Church.

Materially this church follows the tradition of the ubiquitous white washed buildings of the Cyclades whilst formally the chapel proper and attendant baptistery are organised on the strict east-west axis dictated by the Greek Orthodox Church.

A window in the western wall of the chapel proper is chamfered and positioned so that from the centre of the marble disc in the floor, one is in alignment with the point of sunset on the saint’s day of the 6 August.

The connection between man and the heavens is expressed through its larger dome, which is 5 metres in diameter, and should the hemisphere be completed, it would form a sphere, sitting perfectly in the centre of the floor of the chapel.

Internally, soft light from the south west filters through slots in the building, formed by pulling back the south and west facades. This reveals the curved wall a visitor first sees on approach, which seamlessly melds into the dome above.

A series of rendered planters and steps lead the visitor on a shadowed, uphill climb before entering a whitewashed, light filled garden with a single olive tree. The baptistery in the southeast corner is capped with a smaller dome. Seating internally encourages the visitor to sit back, looking up to the large oculus above, through which one can meditate on the changing tones of the sky.

A long corridor adjacent to the bell tower focuses the visitor’s view towards the sea and the setting sun at the end of which lies a hidden circular retreat from the ferocious Meltemi winds.

Data

  • Begun: Jan 2014
  • Completed: Jul 2014
  • Floor area: 72m2
  • Sector: Religious
  • Total cost: £158,340
  • Tender date: Nov 2013
  • Procurement: Negotiated
  • Address: Phaies Petres, Agia Paraskevi, Malia, Kounoupas,, Mykonos, EC1R0AS, Greece

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