Status: Competition (2013)
Clasification: 2 prize
Location: Tallinn, Estonia
Coordinates: 59.409176, 24.696944
Climate: Continental, Temperate
Scale: 1.697 ㎡ Medium
Types: Church, Religious
“Thin places,” the Celts call this space,
Both seen and unseen,
Where the door between the world
And the next is cracked open for a moment
And the light is not all on the other side.
God shaped space. Holy.
This sanctuary is not trying to reach toward heaven or God. This is not the goal; as God is omnipresent and heaven and earth are close everywhere. The aim of this sanctuary is to create a place, where it is possible to apprehend this closeness and presence of God.
A place, where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and where it is possible to experience holiness, elation and eternity. ‘Thin place’ as the Celts called it in their belief – a place where the veil that separates heaven and earth is lifted and the border between holy and earthly so thin that we are not sure if we receive glimpses of heaven or earth.
Two archetypes were used as a base for the design. The first one is one of the most typical building archetypes in Estonia, a house with a pitched roof (not so different from the archetype of a church). The second, more ancient, is that of a cave or a void or a negative space.
These two form a dynamic relationship which creates a certain tension between interior and exterior. These two worlds, both internal and external, symbolize the eternal confrontation in which faith has always played a consolidating role.
Metaphorically speaking, the holiness of this church lies at the intersection of the two worlds and the way it’s massing brings them together.
This concept allowed for the church to be designed in a sculptural way. On the one hand, we have the sacral geometry of the ceremonial spaces and on the other the path that the light carves out of the mass to reach the heart of the building.
The idea of the church is no more than a gesture, with what we take a palmful of earthly substance and pour that into a concrete material form around these spaces to create a body where transformation could occur in the soul and mind.
This way we could create conditions in this one point in the world which would bring God closer. If this gesture could change the place like described in the Celtic description of the thin place, then we have more than achieved our goal.