Named Seashore Chapel, the sculptural building provides a small place of worship for Beidaihe, a seaside town east of Beijing. But this proximity to the shoreline meant it had to be raised up on concrete columns. It is the closest building to the sea anywhere in the town, as Vector Architects wanted to create a more spiritual experience for visitors.
When the tide is out it is possible to take shelter underneath the structure. If the tide became too high the building would become completely separated from land, although the architects claim this is unlikely to happen because the sea level in Bohai Bay is “fairly stable”
“We imagine the Seashore Chapel as an old boat drifting on the ocean a long time ago,”
“The ocean receded through time and left an empty structure behind, which is still lying on the beach.”
“When the tide rises, this space will be submerged by water. At that moment, the imagery of the drifting boat emerges out of the chapel.”
The building features a steeply pitched roof, concealed stained-glass windows and a generous balcony facing the ocean. Its entrance is a grand staircase, which doubles up as an informal seating area. A 30-metre-long pathway leads to this entrance, while the roof canopy overhead functions as a bell tower.The concrete structure is coated in white stucco, giving it a textured finish both inside and outside. At certain times of the day, daylight filtering in through concealed openings in the roof creates distinct beams of colour across the interior surfaces. At other times, it illuminates a cross nestled into a wall recess.
“At the noon of spring, summer and fall, when the solar altitude is almost perpendicular, the light projects directly onto the wall on the north, generating a vivid lighting effect.”
“Although the lights does not stay for long, the texture of the stucco wall is emphasised and celebrated by the light at the moment, and becomes a touchable skin.”
Seashore Chapel will be used for a variety of community events, as well as religious ceremonies. It was finished in late 2015.
For + Info & Work, Please Visit The architect’s Website Here
Design Project by Vector Architects
Photography is by Chen Hao