A brilliant white chapel contrasts beautifully against the blue sea for an unforgettable vista in Beidaihe, a Chinese coastal resort town near Beijing. Vector Architects designed the stunning concrete structure, named the Seashore Chapel, as a sculptural and religious space that transforms over time. Inspired by the vision of an old shipwrecked boat, the bone-white building is elevated on stilts and appears to float like a vessel on water when tidal waters roll in.
Located on the beach next to China’s Bohai Sea, the Seashore Chapel serves the resort community as both a religious space and a community gathering space for public events. The chapel was created in a similar fashion to Vector Architects’ Seashore Library, a nearby concrete building completed last year at Nandaihe. Unlike its sandy-colored predecessor, the Seashore Chapel is covered in brilliant white stucco with laminated bamboo slate and glass curtain walls.
The 270-square-meter Seashore Chapel is divided into two main areas. The first is a covered, sea-facing outdoor space that, as the architects describe it, connects the “religious space to the mundane life,” and is submerged by water at high tide. The second space is the elevated chapel with its steep gable roof accessed via a 30-meter-long staircase. The ascent leads visitors to a panoramic view of the sea through a large horizontal window on the east facade.
Windows are strategically placed to limit the amount of harsh light to the interior, while allowing diffused natural light to stream in and highlight the textures of the stucco walls. Hidden windows allow for natural ventilation to flow through the building. “Together with Seashore Library, [the Seashore Chapel] provides spiritual spaces at ocean front, where people can slow down their pace, experience the nature and examine their inner state,” write the architects.
Images via Vector Architects