Portuguese architect and Pritzker winner Álvaro Siza recently completed the Church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande in the region of Brittany, France. The chunky building, which is the region’s first new church to be built in the 21st century, features a white concrete construction that mimics the facade of nearby housing blocks in the area.
Sculptural and poetic, the minimalist structure’s silhouette takes the general shape of a block, but with volumes cut out of it, most notably near the base of the church, as well as at the center, from which a large cylindrical form appears to emerge. Another semicircular form, this time elevated from the ground, protrudes from the back wall. These curves call to mind the dramatic curves and swoops of Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut, also in France (and undoubtedly a reference).
The church’s main worship space is located in the upper circular volume and can accommodate up to 126, while the ground floor is reserved for social and administrative functions. Other programs include a side chapel that holds the baptismal font, and a semicircular apse where a tabernacle is located.
Though it appears to be monolithic, sunlight enters through clerestory windows and from above, the white interiors reflecting the light around. Take a look.