A chapel in Greece designed by architect Michail Georgiou is a contemporary reimagining of the local orthodox ecclesiastical architecture. The Apostle Peter and St. Helen the Martyr Chapel, in Pafos, Cyprus contains a narthex, a nave, a side aisle, a sanctuary and a prothesis, the standard elements of a traditional double-aisle vaulted orthodox temple, but packs all of this into a tiny area of only 600 square feet. The many-domed structure of typical orthodox chapels has been transformed by Georgiou into a single sweeping form which makes up both the walls and roof of the chapel.
The curved roof reaches outwards at either end of the chapel, past the interior space, allowing the interior to flow outside and natural light to flow inside. On the east end, a semi-cylindrical self-supported form rests in the mouth of the extruded area, housing the sanctuary. The west end features a set of vertical louvres which provide shade from the often hot Greek sun while also allowing filtered natural light to drift inside. The louvres also house the chapel bell at the highest arc of the roof. The entire west wall is glass and an 18 foot high glass door reduces the division between interior and exterior space.
Inside, the sanctuary mural and the iconostasis, holding the Icons of Christ, Virgin Mary, Apostle Peter and St. Helen, are emphasized by the filtered entrance light. Elaborate geometric ornaments hang from the high ceiling, like celestial bodies in the sky.
The chapel frame is formed of steel and reinforced concrete walls, wrapped with a seismic, insulating shell only 100 mm thick. The shell is made of Ferrocement, a composite often used in the 60s for constructing thin structures and boats. The technique was revived for this project to allow for greater precision and flexibility for the free form shape, while keeping construction costs low.
Images via Charis Solomou