This beautiful wood chapel within a chapel has been built by Cerejeira Fontes in Braga, Portugal. The timber Tree of Life chapel is a modular space for worship and reflection created for friars to utilize within the Conciliar Seminary of St. James in Braga. The open slats allow natural light to filter into the cozy space, while also providing unique storage shelving for the friars’ Bibles.
Set within the seminary school’s dimly lit corridors, the chapel takes up a rectangular space where it sits resembling stacked palettes with its open slats. Light from the corridor windows seep in, while ambient lighting from the interior make the modular chapel glow like a lantern. The spaces in the timber boards also remind visitors of the construction of the chapel, allowing them to imagine each plank being stacked to completion.
The chapel sits atop a wooden deck platform, which has storage built into its base for books and Bibles. A stone block functions as a step and leads visitors into the chapel through a corner entrance opening. Inside, the slatted walls curve in, creating a cozy and private place for prayer. A small altar stands at one end for priests leading prayers, while the walls are lined with benches that also continue the slatted shelving pattern. Above, the ceiling opens into an oblong skylight, allowing visitors on the mezzanine above the chapel to watch mass functions and prayers.
The slats also allow for storage without obstructing the cozy design of the interior with additional furniture. Bibles, papers, and even candles can be safely stored within the walls and retrieved when needed. The unique chapel allows natural light to flow within it, while creating a private and peaceful place for worship.
Images ©Nelson Garrido