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Fosters plans pop-up chapel for Vatican in Venice

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A temporary chapel designed by Foster + Partners is among 10 that will represent the Vatican at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018

The pop-up structures will be built in a wooded area on the island of San Giorgio, and mark the first time the Vatican has participated in the festival.

Fosters is working alongside an impressive list of international names who are each designing a separate chapel. They include Francesco Celini (Italy), Eduardo Souto de Moura (Portugal), Flores & Prats (Spain), Carla Juaçaba (Brazil), Smiljan Radic (Chile), Javier Corvalán (Paraguay), Andrew Berman (USA), Sean Godsell (Australia) and Teronobu Fujimori (Japan).

Fosters executive chairman Norman Foster said: ‘Our project started with the selection of the site. On a visit to San Giorgio Maggiore, close to Palladio’s magnificent church and the Teatro Verde, we found a green space with two mature trees beautifully framing the view of the lagoon.

‘It was like a small oasis in the big garden, perfect for contemplation.

‘Our aim is to create a small sanctuary space diffused with dappled shade and removed from the normality of passers-by, focused instead on the water and sky beyond.’

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2737 fp646558

The concept for Fosters’ chapel started with three crosses and a timber deck, draped with a tent-like membrane.

As the idea developed, the crosses turned into cables and mast, while the membrane evolved into a wooden latticework.

Italian architecture historian Francesco Dal Co, who has curated the chapels project, said: ‘The architects of the Pavilion of the Holy See have worked without any reference to generally recognised canons, and without being able to rely on any model from a typological viewpoint, as is demonstrated by the only apparently surprising variety of the projects they have developed.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Phil Parker

    Really nice. The practice has clearly been learning from their work on Snowdon and Newby’s beautiful Aviary. Look forward to visiting it.

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