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Chapel of St Michael, Mariahilf Bregenz

The current church complex was built between 1925 and 1931 to plans by Clemens Holzmeister, then restored and redesigned under Hans Purin from 1979 to 1981. The chapel lies within the tower, standing unaltered and unfinished in its central position above the entrance. For structural reasons, steel and concrete reinforcement was added during construction. The new design focusses on the six alcoves and two windows which define the space, occupying them with room-specific religious themes derived from the Chapel’s context. The south-east facing double window filters sunlight through a pale ceramic screen. Overlapping geometric patterns and profiles cut from this screen were designed to be reminiscent of the structure of a leaf and thereby evoke associations with the Garden of Eden and Paradise. The ceramic screen will be inlaid with tinted glass, reminding visitors of colourful stained glass church windows. Transversal walls are each punctuated by three arched alcoves. The four outer niches serve as circulation of the chapel, while the centre niches are occupied by devotional themes. Ceramic light screens and a rammed earth floor stand harmoniously alongside the whitewashed brick walls. This material palette is conceived as a synonym for the earthly origins of man. The entire design uses a complex, combinatorics-based system of ratios, proportions and symbols.

Design Team: Andreas Cukrowicz, Anton Nachbaur-Sturm, Michael Mayer, Roland Gmeinder, Tobias Beyrer, Clemens Hämmerle, Anika Kienzle
Client: Mariahilf Parish, Bregenz
Competition 2014 1st Prize, Construction Parish Centre 2015-16