Site Specific Arquitectura Converts Portuguese Warehouse Into Monastery Chapel

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Portuguese studio Web site Certain Arquitectura has transformed a warehouse at a Lisbon monastery into a minimalist chapel featuring simple furnishings and a lime-green confession booth (+ slideshow).

Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific Arquitectura

Architects Patrícia Marques and Paulo Costa wanted to create a place of worship “without having artifice or excess” for the brothers of the monastery in Apelação – a parish on the outskirts of the city.

Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific Arquitectura

The old warehouse was stripped back to its concrete shell and given a pared-back aesthetic by means of “austere and rigorous designing,” in accordance to Marques and Costa.

Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific Arquitectura

“This is a chapel, or a little church, built in a particular property for specific people – the brotherhood of Instituto Missionário Pio Sociedade de São Paulo,” they explained.

Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific Arquitectura

“The chapel operates as the heart of the Institute, both physically and symbolically it gives the hyperlink between members of the brotherhood and reaches the wider lay neighborhood via their publishing and missionary routines,” they extra.

Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific Arquitectura

Named Capela Jesus Mestre, the chapel occupies a central place in the complicated, between a pair of four-storey blocks where the brothers live and function.


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Simple timber volumes with cross motifs are dotted by means of the vibrant white interior. A lower-level altar and plain lectern have been chosen rather of an elevated pulpit to generate a space without hierarchies.

Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific Arquitectura

Some of the wooden components, which includes the altar and the confession booth, are decorated with religious illustrations by artist Bartolomeu de Gusmão. The altar also features subtle cross-shaped joints.

Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific Arquitectura

A slender golden crucifix stands to the rear of the lectern towards a massive window. It can be disengaged from its concrete stand and carried during celebratory processions.

A related cross functions in a chapel made for staff at a tequila factory in Mexico.

Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific Arquitectura

“The cross is created as an integral element of the celebrations and the building,” mentioned the architects.

Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific Arquitectura

The altar sits in the centre of the rectilinear room, that means the brothers can cluster close to its edge for the duration of intimate meetings. For bigger celebrations, pews can be arranged around its edges.

Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific Arquitectura

Lime green upholstery within the confession booth contrasts the neutral-toned area. A cross is stitched into the back wall of the secluded seating region.

Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific Arquitectura

A gap in the booth wall overlooks a shallow pool of water in the garden, which is made as an outdoor prayer space.


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The backyard is open to the public and can be accessed via a timber door in the grey perimeter wall. It is engraved with a cross and stands in between a bell and colourful flowering plants.

Photography is by Eduardo Nascimento and João Fôja.


Project credits:

Architecture: Web site Particular Arquitectura
Art: Bartolomeu de Gusmão
Advisor: Paulo Pires de Vale / Nuno Gusmão
Consumer: Instituto Missionário Pio Sociedade de São Paulo
Construction: Fuste – Construções e Imobiliário

Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific ArquitecturaSite plan – click for greater picture Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific ArquitecturaSections – click for larger picture Capela Jesus Mestre by Site Specific ArquitecturaElevation – click for larger image


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Chapel of the Assumption Interior by John Doe

Grégory Lacoua and Jean Sébastien Lagrange of French style studio John Doe designed furnishings for this Parisian chapel, which has been renovated by French architects 3box. Much more »

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