The Portoguese practice e|348 arquitectura realised this chapel, including the interiors, furniture and landscape design, for the community of Santa Maria da Feira, a small town in the North of their home country. ‘Santa Ana’s Chapel’ forms the center of the Santa Ana’s festivities, occurring in July 26th every year.
Here is what the architects explain:
“The São Pedro das Águias Church is a small singular Romanic building of the XII Century, built next to the Távora river, in a granitic slope.
Its dimension, and close relation to topography and surroundings, teaches us that spatial qualities do not depend on size, instead they rely on integration ability, reacting to surroundings to generate unique and singular spaces.
Notre Damme du Haut, is an reference in the recent Architectural History, and we read it as an iconic building that spots the landscape, making use of sculptural forms, and rough materials and finishes, with well measured limitation to light entrance.”
“It is also inspiring the relationship with the exterior space. Mass celebrations took place outside the building, which is in fact, the main reason for the organic shape of its walls – acoustics, sound propagation.
The triangular ground given to Santa Ana’s Chapel, suggested the creation of a L shaped building, allowing to organize the exterior space, and to dispose properly the inside building program.
It is developed in one level, varying only its height towards the altar and the head of the chapel.
It creates a Scenario to the outdoor mass celebration, and visually scores landscape, assuming, as befits a place of worship, as an exceptional building, creating a strong visual reference towards its surroundings.”
“The main entrance is oriented towards West. Entering, an “ante-chapel” where the image of Santa Ana is located, creating a space for worship and devotion on the first moment.
After, we reach the nave, with a capacity of about 30 people, with the altar in the background.
The aesthetic principles leading the design look for the magnification of the religious experience by working the largest source of religious and architectural inspiration, the light.
So, as São Pedro das Águias, the space is all closed, massive ascending walls punctuated with thin fenestrations.”
“This light control not only refers to São Pedro das Águias, where there are only seven of this windows, but also to Ronchamp’s interiors, where the distribution of fenestration creates the correct ambience to elevate visitor to a meditation and contemplation level.
The exterior space materializes the spontaneous amphitheatre as to accommodate audience in exterior celebrations. Looking at Notre Damme du Haut, we created a balcony under the bell and over the audience, becoming the only extension of the building towards its exterior – an almost sculptural moment.”