Chapel St Loup, Pompaples

The first-full scale construction with a design based on the methods for generating architectural forms.

2008 Chapelle St Loup, Pompaples (CH)

The chapel of St.-Loup in Pompaples (Vaud, Switzerland) was the first-full scale construction with a design based on the methods for generating architectural forms developed at the laboratory for timber construction IBOIS.

Location Pompaples, Switzerland
Client Diaconesses of St.-Loup
Architect Localarchitecture / Danilo Mondada : Antoine Robert-Grandpierre
EPFL IBOIS : Yves Weinand, Hani Buri
Timber Engineering Bureau d’Etudes Weinand, Liège
Technological transfer Laboratory for Timber Constructions, IBOIS, EPFL
Completed 2008

The Diaconesses of St.-Loup needed a temporary structure for their community’s religious activities during an extensive renovation of their motherhouse, and a folded plate structure built in cross laminated timber panels provided an ideal solution. The form generation tool allowed integrating structural as well as production design right from the beginning into the planning process. Therefore the entire project took less than 6 months from start to finish and the chapel was built in less than two months

The project wants to capture the form of a basilica with one rounded nave. In the chapel, two symmetrical, slightly bent zigzag lines define a corrugated form in plan. The cross section profile is a simple trapezoid. Due to the curve form of the basic corrugation in plan the roof is compressed and rises up to a tip that recalls a little belfry. The result is a transition from a horizontal to a vertical space, marked by the rhythm of the folds. The chapel’s huge wooden panels, joined by folded metal plates screwed to the timber panels, enable the structure to stay upright without a traditional linear framework.

Transparent plastic panels in the gable side facades, covered with fabric, allow natural light to enter the chapel and their framework remembers stained glass.

This chapel was published a lot all around the world since its building.

This project was supported by the Federal Office for the Environment – FOEN.

Photographs: Fred Hatt