Our Lady of the Fields

PrizeGold in Architectural Design / Institutional Architecture / Gold in Architectural Design / Green architecture
Firm LocationCambridge, United States
CompanyHarvard University
Lead DesignerStanislas Chaillou Veronique Charpy
Design TeamStanislas Chaillou Veronique Charpy
City/CountryCambridge,

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.