God Knows Prayer Leads to Light
A new setting has been created for the most important services of the Protestant parish of the Diaconesses, near Paris (France). The sisters wanted to place the chapel project firmly in the 21st century and “offer modern people an interior that combines beauty, intimacy and celebration, inviting them to reflect and find peace.
Praise the Nature for Praying
This religious building designed by French architect Marc Rolinet opens itself up to the environment through the subtle interplay of glass and wood. It follows the uneven topography of the site and creates access at two levels. An upturned wooden shell forms the oblong contemporary chapel, built of superimposed pine strips that were individually steam-curved on site.
This organically shaped chapel curls up inside a voluminous glass structure with a triangular base that is protected from hot sunlight by a horizontal roof, also made of wooden strips. The walking space between the chapel and its transparent envelope is meant to invite meditation and offer a direct link with the surrounding park dotted with tall trees. This bioclimatic envelope filters and exploits the natural daylight entering through 360 degrees.
Money, money, money
The choice of a glass laminated with a plastics structural interlayer had a positive effect on the overall construction costs because, to offer the same mechanical strength, glazing of the same size and without it, would have had to be thicker. That would have meant additional costs both for the glazing and the structural elements, since they would have had to bear a correspondingly higher load. The architectural benefit is also apparent, because this solution enables optimum glazing sizes without any influence on the supporting structure.
The Less You See, the More Technical It Is
The transparency and ethereal character of the building were enabled by using a plastics structural interlayer in the laminated safety glass for the two façades and the roof. This resisting plastics component enabled to reduce the glass thickness (even though long trapezoidal panels on the roof are 2.2 metres in length), increase the pitch and lighten the supporting structure.
The horizontal roof panels were made of insulating glass units composed of an outer layer made of 10mm thick tempered coated safety glass, providing enhanced heat insulation by acting as a heat shield, for an inside laminated safety glass made out of a 12mm tempered laminate, and in-between, a 1.52mm plastics structural interlayer and 8mm tempered glass. The outer and inner layers are separated by a 12mm air gap. The insulating glass in the façades has a laminated safety glass outerlayer with two 8mm tempered glass panels separated by the 1.52mm plastics interlayer. The innerlayer consists of 10mm tempered safety glass. Both layers are separated by a 16mm air gap.
The fixing devices were integrated directly into the laminated inner glass layer of the vertical panels. This attractive fixing system was made possible by the interlayer, which adds strength and provides more reliable framing for this large-scale application.