Kategorie - Theorie /Text passiv  
  >> Ruff Gabriele, english: St. Jacob?s Chapel
Wvznr: T116
St. Jacob?s Chapel, Gabriele Ruff

St. Jacob?s Chapel

In Bad Kleinkirchheim in Southern Austria, characterized by thermal spas and ski resorts, the artist Armin Guerino and the sculptor Tomas Hoke have set forth in their design for St. Jacob?s Chapel a spatial concept with sculptural aspirations.

Their architectonic design and artistic concept for the typology funerary chapel is exceptional in its articulation. Edmund Hoke, an architect, assisted by transferring the ideas to paper and by preparing the construction documents. The two artists have collaborated in the past on a number of projects for sacred buildings, including St. Michael?s Chapel ob der Gurk, the Sexten Ascension Chapel in South Tyrol, and the portal and altar for the Gurk Cathedral.

St. Jacob?s Chapel is located on the eastern edge of the cemetery adjoining the baroque St. Ulrich Church, on the foundations of the cemetery wall. An incoherent stair was removed and the terraced level for the two-story chapel was restructured.

An axial path along the church leads from the cemetery entrance directly to the center of the chapel and opens into a double-panel portal designed by Tomas Hoke. In contrast to the exterior surface in midnight-blue brushed stainless steel with eleven bas-relief teardrops, the interior surface corresponds, with its bright reflecting polish, to the size of the opening in the cube.

The overall volume is structured clearly ? visible in the change of material from wood to exposed concrete to glass. The tri-partite order begins with the congregation space, a vessel-like timber construction. For both the interior cladding and the exterior skin covering the parabola-shaped structure, rough-sawn oak planks were used. The ?floating? perimeter bench makes use of the inverted conical form for its back support. The liturgical and funerary furnishings such as altar, holy water font, crucifix, candelabrum, as well as bier and wreath stand were made by Tomas Hoke.

The ?belly? of the vessel is a closed intimate volume, a tranquil place. It collides with the monolithic gate of exposed concrete, which marks, with its perimeter band window, the junction of the organic wood structure and the crystalline glass element. The exposed concrete wall ? with its warm red iron oxide tone ? serves as the background for Armin Guerino?s imagery. The murals portray two main themes: the painter?s interpretation of Jacob?s ladder with its ?virtual accompaniment ? the shadow?, and the double labyrinth as metamorphosis vehicle of man?s different states.

The dual form of the affinitive single-stroke figures depicts the ambiguity in the margins of human existence. The tempera murals cover the entire exposed concrete wall (11.0 m x 5.0 m). Light from all sides floods this ?Zone of Differentiation? ? within which the varying zones lead to the spatial center of the building, to a crystaline cube where the deceased lies in state. The glass cube (2.40 m x 2.40 m), an interpretation of heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the same size, is self-supporting and cantilevers outwards. It is made up of 600 layers of glass strips, each 2.40 m long, 6 cm wide and 12 mm thick. The overall impression is of a glowing crystal. Light flows uninterrupted into the space, and is reflected and refracted; depending on its angle, clouds or fragments of the surrounding landscape are mirrored in the glass. With this project the artists have articulated a new spatial typology which ? in its viscous materiality ? positions the deceased in bright light. The glass cube conveys a festive ambiance, doing away with solemnity.
Gabriele Ruff

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