St. Mary of the Angels Chapel

St. Mary of the Angels Chapel

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Discipline

Typology

Size: 120 m2
Status: Completed
Project Design: 1998 - 1999
Project Realisation: 2000 - 2001
Address: Nieuwe Crooswijkseweg 123, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Client: R.K. Begraafplaats St. Laurentius, Rotterdam

Programme: Catholic chapel built on the remains of a 19th century chapel and public space design.

Photography: Christian Richters

Located centrally in the St. Laurentius cemetery in Rotterdam, the Roman Catholic chapel sits within the perimeter of a historic chapel from 1869 whose outline is visible from the exposed ruins of the original wall.

Inside, the atmosphere feels intimate regardless of the number of people present. The chapel consists of a column-free space wrapped by a continuous, undulating wall raised seventy centimetres off the floor, with a gently curved floating roof above.

This allows daylight to stream inside through the strips of glass that run above and below the wall, creating an ethereal quality of light that heightens the spiritual experience of being between heaven and earth. Adorning the intense blue wall are texts from the Requiem in Paradisum in various languages​​, a reference to the surrounding multicultural neighbourhood. 

Placed opposite one another, the entrance and exit are oversized pivot doors integrated into the wall.

They play an essential role in a ceremony that symbolises the journey and continuation of life: the deceased is brought into the chapel through one door where the ceremony is held, and leaves through the other door to the cemetery.

Torch-like lamps illuminate the gold-coloured ceiling from the inside out. A light beam falls into the chapel through an opening in the roof, accentuated by the rising smoke of burning incense. Circular sections of inlaid stone in the floor indicate the areas designated for funeral goers and priests. A modest bell tower crowns the structure.

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