a silent place where discovering ourselves
In Beidaihe, a seaside town east of Beijing, China, there is a minimal 270-square-meter building. It's a chapel entirely made of concrete and white stucco, designed in 2015 by Vector Architects.
The Seashore Chapel is imagined as an old boat drifting on the ocean.
When the tide rises, this space is submerged by water, and the building becomes completely separated from the land. It reminds of something spiritual, in deep contact with the ocean.
The chapel is the closest building to the sea anywhere in the town. This proximity to the shoreline meant it had to be raised up on concrete columns, and when the tide is out, it is possible to take shelter underneath the structure. The building features a steeply pitched roof, concealed stained-glass windows and a generous balcony facing the ocean.
A 30-meter-long pathway leads to the entrance, characterized by a grand staircase which doubles up as an informal seating area, while the roof canopy overhead functions as a bell tower. The concrete structure is coated in white stucco, both inside and outside. The stucco wall is emphasized and celebrated by the light, depending on the time of the day, becoming a touchable skin with a vivid lighting effect. The monotone surfaces are interrupted by bamboo floorboards that give some warmth to the building and are complemented by wooden benches. Inside this structure, there are a meditation room, a toilet, a small office, and a mezzanine level for a piano player.
Community events, as well as religious ceremonies, are taking place in this isolated and silent structure.
Photography: Vector Architects