Plans (top down: roof, drainage, first floor, footings)
Elevations (NE, NW, SW, SE)
Chapel interior looking up
Bar night perspective
4 - 12
Iowa State University
Professor Daniel Naegele, Ph.D.
The visitor is encouraged to walk a well-defined trail through the woods from the remote parking to the place of worship. Along the trail they encounter a clearing, across which a subtle beacon can be seen inviting them through the tall grass and up a ramp. As they ascend the ramp to be among the canopies of the trees, they are removed from the troubles of life and focused on a greater presence. Past an outdoor space of contemplation suggesting the interior plan, they begin to understand the building not as merely a rectangular prism but as a form floating within a seemingly simple skin, representative of the often hidden complexity that is one’s faith. The interior volume directs a view upward in the tight quarters to relief above as light is funneled down through narrow openings in the roof.
Accepting that any given building we design will likely change function throughout its lifespan, this one week project turned our Chapels into Bars. While a chapel is willing to accept clerestory space as room for thought, prayer, meditation, or a higher being, a bar, on the other hand, wouldn’t. A bar, more hedonistic in nature, would see the height of the project and decide that the top is the best part of the building – the top is where the bar wants to be. Thinking about a project type’s wants and needs brings to question the responsibility of designing for the lifespan of the building or for the project’s immediate needs.