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20 December 2011

atelier FCJZ: glass chapel

'glass chapel' by atelier FCJZ, nanjing, china
all images courtesy atelier FCJZ

beijing-based architect yung ho chang of atelier FCJZ has designed the 'glass chapel', a church for nuptial rituals
overlooking foshou lake in nanjing within the jiangsu province of china. with a backdrop of mountains and lush vegetation,
the light and transparent arching form recedes into the site's encompassing nature. the intent was to create an elevated,
spacious and column-free interior space which may be easily constructed by hand, resulting with a reticulated
shell structure formed with glass blocks and reinforced cement mortar, developed and tested for this project.

model construction process - wooden formwork orientation completed

a grid containing a 30 millimeter gap between the masonry units is filled with steel bars and cement to provide
complete lateral stability. a continuous 'S' curve evens out at the top of the catenary curve transferring loads through
the building's cross section, spanning 8.6 meters and reaching a height of 30 meters.

the design team built a 1:1 scale model of a 3 meter high section of the exterior within the garden adjacent to the
practice's studio, located near the yuanmingyuan park, northwest of beijing's urban center. secured with a personal foundation,
a wooden formwork was used to lay 245 blocks, each measuring 20cm by 20cm by 10cm. after the mockup's binding was set
and the frame was disassembled, the two month long process to create the module serves as adequate proof for the new
construction method's strength for future applications.

model construction process - wooden formwork bracing completed

model construction process - wooden formwork completed

model construction process - paying off completed

model construction process - steel reinforcement completed

model construction process - brick laying completed

model construction process - formwork disassembly completed

low angle south west view

(left) southwest view
(right) north view

image © designboom

low angle interior view


yung ho chan showing birgit lohmann editor-in-chief of designboom the materials and test models near his studio
images © designboom

snow covered view


construction process

exterior perspective

entry perspective


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