Spatial duality: Chapel by John Smart Architects
Architects: John Smart Architects
Location: London (GB)
In its renovation and transformation of a chapel built in 1935 into a residential building, John Smart Architects emphasized the original character of the place of worship and organised the interior around the building's open hall.
In the rear area, a small 'room within the room' now rises upward like a pulpit. The sacral atmosphere repeats itself in the vertical arrangement of space, with the bedrooms positioned at the sublevel and a small study placed 'up in the clouds' beneath the roof. The ascent up a dark staircase from the sleeping area to the light-flooded ground floor recalls the duality of day and night, heaven and earth.
Indeed, duality is undoubtedly one of the main characteristics of the Chapel. The open space on the ground floor provides room for large family gatherings as well as introverted corners into which it is possible to withdraw. The flooring in Oregon pine and walls with a lime plaster finish form a visual contrast to the dark elements. Vestiges of the sacral building – the altar, the pulpit, an organ pipe – intermingle with everyday objects and activities.