The Rwanda Chapel is intended to be a destination where everyone can appreciate. It pays respect to the violent history of the area by bringing people together rather than pushing them apart. For this reason, there is no “front door” to the Chapel. It is accessible from all sides and in any direction. There are no borders, so it can accommodate as many people as it needs to – sometimes few, and sometimes many.
Architecturally, the Chapel is intended to provide protection from above, but transparency through the sides. Much like the surrounding trees. Vertical structures shoot up and overlap at the top. From a distance, their verticality of the Chapel blends into the forest. The design is intended to allow different material assemblies to accommodate the remote nature of the site.
Stepping stones require one to walk slowly and to be more aware of their surroundings. The reflecting pool allows a moment of reflection before entering the Chapel. The Nave is intentionally narrow to encourage a sense of togetherness. Finally, the backdrop of nature is ever-changing, and the experiences at this Chapel are intended to change with it for many years to come.
All design work - Makoto Shibuya