The play of contrasting materiality and permeability also create a space that differs from its traditional counterparts. The ambulatory can be seen as a “substitute for the arcaded or colonnaded side aisles of a conventional church. Yet unlike side aisles, it yields nothing of the interior of the nave or sanctuary for the visitor…”1 The chapel also has an absence of both the symmetry and dominant central axis that you find in a traditional Christian church.2 On the other hand, the ambulatory could also be seen as a cloister, but unlike the cloister which typically directs your view inward, this space directs your view outward to the death strip, a not-so-subtle reminder of the history of the place. By constructing the heavy wall on the interior and the lightweight screen on the exterior, the typical programming of spiritual space has been removed in favor of a spatial construct that embeds qualities of the past in the present, adding another layer to the palimpsest of the “no-man’s land.”
This is an excerpt from Chapter 10 of Introducing Architectural Tectonics.
Drawing | © Chad Schwartz | Comparison to a traditional church.
1 Adam Sharr, “The Sedimentation of Memory,” The Journal of Architecture 15, no. 4 (2010): 505.
2 Ronald Rael, Earth Architecture (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2009), 46.