Suzhou Chapel

PrizeWinner in Architectural Design / Cultural Architecture
Firm LocationShanghai, China
CompanyNeri&hu Design and Research Office
Lead ArchitectLyndon Neri & Rossana Hu
Design Team

The design of the Suzhou Chapel takes its
cues from vernacular architecture of the
Jiangnan region of China, which is notable
for a soft palette of textured grays and
whites. In this project, it takes shape in
the form of undulating gray brick walls and a
floating white volume above. Walls of
different heights incorporate various brick
laying patterns and interweave with each
other to compose a choreographed landscape
journey leading into the building. There is a
seamless integration with the surrounding
nature as picture windows frame various man-
made and natural landscapes. The white box is
composed of an inner layer with punctured
openings and an outer layer of perforated
metal that alternatively hides and reveals.
In the daytime, the white box emits a subtle
reflection in the sun, while at night, it
becomes a jewel-like beacon, its various
windows emitting a soft glow. Contained
within the white box is the main chapel
space, a light-filled 12m high room, with a
mezzanine and wood louvered cage element
hanging above. A separate staircase alongside
the main space gives unexpected views both
internally and externally, as the visitor
ascends to a rooftop deck offering unrivaled
views across the scenic lake.