Giannis Giannoutsos
Architect ∙ Visual Artist

FOURTH NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CONTEMPORARY RELIGIOUS ARCHITECTURE

Details

FOURTH NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CONTEMPORARY RELIGIOUS ARCHITECTURE

"WHITE CHAPEL, old and new. An attempt to converse"

 

The composition assumes as a point of departure the dialectic emerging between an already existing and a newly constructed structure that stand near to each other on the same site.

The theme of the project calls for the construction of a new small chapel at Stratos in the prefecture of Aitoloakarnania, Greece. Its distinctiveness lies in the existence of an older dilapidated 19th century chapel, the so-called Asproklissia, still standing within the study area.

The proposal is to construct an inward looking “embracing” space. The composition acquires a monolithic appearance, where the outer shell engulfs the inner core. The structure consists of two strong, slanted walls and a light vaulted roof incised between them. The Pi-shaped walls form the symbolic “embrace” enfolding the interior. The roof rests slightly away from the walls creating two lateral skylights. The only openings comprise the two vertical apertures, the entrance door and the Sanctum window, emphasizing the East – West axis. The new structure is placed next to the old Asproklissia with which it converses.

The project poses questions that raise a whole array of issues, e.g. how tradition can inform modern compositions. Maybe the most insightful way to frame the answer is in the words of an Athonite monk who would urge builders, trying to mend an old stonework, not to imitate the building style but rather to perceive the deeper spirit that gave rise to its creation in the first place (personal communication).