A Place of Silence: Belarusian Memorial Chapel
Builder: The Congregation for the Oriental Churches of the Roman Curia of the Holy See
Architect: Spheron Architects
Location: London (GB)
Twenty years have passed since the nuclear disaster in the Ukrainian town of Chernobyl. The radioactive rays may be invisible, but their effects have shaken decades of faith in technological progress.
Regions of Belarus, a neighbouring country, were hit hard by the consequences of the reactor accident. Radioactive rain fell there shortly after the disaster. Several thousand people left their homes.
In 2016, at the behest of the city’s Belarusian community, London’s Spheron Architects studio erected a small chapel dedicated to the memory of the victims of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl. It is located on the grounds of Marian House, the Belarusian cultural centre in Woodside Park. The chapel, which measures 69 m², replaces the temporary prayer room of the Belarusian Catholic mission.
The small structure is made completely of wood. It was designed according to research into traditional wooden Belarusian buildings. Traditional elements such as the onion dome and the wood-shingled roof have been complemented with new motifs. For instance, the side walls of the chapel are undulant. The spaces in between are clad with matte glass that softly illuminates the lower and upper areas of the interior space.