Chapel by Steyn Studio sits on a site is surrounded by majestic mountains with a grand scale which adorned the area of South Africa with the nickname of ‘Little Switzerland’. The chapel development reflects, in microcosm, one half of what already exists at the scale of the valley as a whole in terms of its sculptural relationship, as does currently exist between the Manor House and the Waaihoek Mountains. The development profile, architectural form and massing responds sculpturally to the natural configuration of the mountain backdrop.
In order to achieve the visual ‘lightness’ of the roof; the structure had to be simple, unifying and as structurally efficient as possible. It was therefor decided that the roof can also become the walls/columns; its own supporting structure. To realise this we investigated parabolic/hyperbolic arches and surfaces; and its use in thin shell concrete structures. This translated into the sculptural form which emulates the surrounding mountains as well as the poetic motion sought.