Álvaro Siza designs a sacred space in France

In Rennes, the Portuguese architect has completed a church that features pure concrete forms and white interiors with marble panels.

Álvaro Siza Vieira, chiesa di Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande, Rennes, Francia, 2018

The church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande is the first church built in France’s Brittany region in the 21st-century. The project has been contracted to the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. Siza’s use of light and white concrete provide a unique ceremonial space that gently folds into the neighborhood south of Rennes, a residential area with five-story housing blocks. Siza’s main concern when designing the project was being able to integrate the church into the urban fabric. One of the hallmarks of the building is the circular shape on the second floor, which will hold up to 120 people – freeing up the first floor for social and administrative areas.

The program is distributed across two levels by superimposing a cylinder with a 14.75 m outer diameter on a 16xi6 m square plan with a total height of 12 m. Two rectangular volumes break off to the west of this core, framing the entrance atrium and spanning the full height of the building. Another two iden­tical quadrangular volumes lie to the east, along with a cantilevered half cylinder that emerges from the top floor. Circulation between the two floors is via a lift and two stairways —one of them enclosed— with two flights.

Img.20 Álvaro Siza Vieira, church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande, Rennes, France, 2018
Álvaro Siza Vieira, church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande, Rennes, France, 2018

The church will be built using white reinforced concrete bearer walls with internal thermal insulation. The marks of the formwork used in its construction will be visible on the facades. The interior of the church and the Parish Centre will be paved with marble. The walls will be painted after installing marble panels. The exterior frames will be in wood with an aluminum finish on the outer face.

church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande 
sacred space
Rennes, France
Álvaro Siza Vieira

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