Our Lady of the Fields

Prize Winner in Architectural Design / Green architecture
Firm LocationCambridge, United States
CompanyHarvard University
Lead DesignerStanislas Chaillou Veronique Charpy
Design TeamStanislas Chaillou Veronique Charpy

As the Catholic Church progressively rethinks ecology and its relationship with the creation, there maybe an opportunity to find a new impulse in church design. In that spirit, the erection of “Our Lady of the Fields” in the park of Dorchester Heights, aims at revitalizing the space while offering a center for the Catholic communal life, with three main objectives: (1) Bring the believers’ community in proximity with Nature, by inviting the garden into the church. (2) Call the community of believers to a journey by using natural elements as symbols of the Christ’s Passion. (3) Welcome the Other, beyond the community of believers, by using a roof garden. The church aims at reaching this 3 goals tanks to (1) a landscaped roof-top canopy with trees and bushes simulating a dense nature and offering the visitors an Eden Garden-like experience, (2) sixteen curated views towards the outside framed by the concrete piers, each view using both the landscape in the background and a strong iconography by the artist VeroniqueCharpy to evoke the Passion of Christ. The daily cycle of the sun magnified by the “mineral to vegetal” gradation of the landscape acts as a discreet allegory to the Passion cycle.