7 November 2010

Luce Memorial Chapel - I M Pei

When chatting over Friday drinks in the office, we were reminded by one of our staffs who graduated from Tunghai University, Taiwan, of this beautiful chapel on campus we visited a while ago.  It was designed collaboratively by Taiwanese architect, Chen Chi-Kwan, and I M Pei, the recipient of 1983 Pritzker Prize.

Luce Memorial Chapel, is made up of 4 hyperbolic paraboloid shells of ribbed reinforced concrete, rising to 19.2m high above ground.  It was built in 1963 with quite some complicated formwork by local craftsman.

I have this love for simple buildings - buildings with full-on power and honesty. It speaks for itself.

Simple, is probably the hardest thing.

it was towards the end of the summer afternoon when we arrived at Luce Chapel

looking to the main entry of the chapel

inside the chapel - concrete ribbing was exposed internally, showing the structural force at work

the delicate skylight detail at the junction where the concrete shells meet; the connection was refined to its minimum, create such a contrast with the massive force coming down onto the shells and introduced a brilliant lightness to the entire structure 

detail of rainwater drainage at bottom of the shells, which are roofs as well as walls to the chapel

the shells are even more distinct with lighting from inside

Someone wrote in their blog:
... if there was a building that could make me believe in God, this would probably be it.

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