Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice, Czech Republic by Atelier Stepan | Yellowtrace

Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice, Czech Republic by Atelier Stepan | Yellowtrace

Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice, Czech Republic by Atelier Stepan | Yellowtrace

Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice, Czech Republic by Atelier Stepan | Yellowtrace

Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice, Czech Republic by Atelier Stepan | Yellowtrace

Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice, Czech Republic by Atelier Stepan | Yellowtrace

Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice, Czech Republic by Atelier Stepan | Yellowtrace

 

I remember one of my early lessons in Architecture where I was told that in buildings, curves are a nightmare and will never look as impressive as they appear in one’s head. So, because of this, I am always in awe of a structure that has managed to elegantly transition from paper to reality and look as impressive in physical form as it does in concept sketch. It has to be said that much of the beautiful execution here has to be credited to a clearly outstanding construction team, although the genius of design came from the brilliant Atelier Štěpán, a design firm based in the Czech Republic.

The commission of a modern-day church allows for the reinvention of the idea, what a place of worship should be and how visitors interact with the space. It seems natural then, with the designers’ fetish for geometry, that an organic form be explored for this new place of worship located in the tiny village of Sazovice. The cylindrical plan is one that calms and soothes the soul, with the spectacular centrepiece being a triangular skylight over the main congregation space, a design feature that is both inspirational and uplifting. The circular layout does have meaning behind it (not just that the Architect loves curves!), as it is a reference back to traditional rotundas from the time of St Wenceslas – think of it as a contemporary take on a classic.

 

Related: Stores On Design // Take Me To Church.

 

Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice, Czech Republic by Atelier Stepan | Yellowtrace

Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice, Czech Republic by Atelier Stepan | Yellowtrace

Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice, Czech Republic by Atelier Stepan | Yellowtrace

Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice, Czech Republic by Atelier Stepan | Yellowtrace

Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice, Czech Republic by Atelier Stepan | Yellowtrace

Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice, Czech Republic by Atelier Stepan | Yellowtrace

 

From the outside, the building appears almost paper-thin with tapered edges carefully peeled and pushed to allow light to flood the interior and playfully highlight the entrance. Elements that we associate with the Christian Church, such as the symbolic cross or trademark bells have also had the minimalist treatment, almost floating off the façade and sitting in perfect harmony with the ultra-modern form.

Internally is where this building really launches into its own league, with mind-boggling attention to detail where every single surface, junction and fitting has been considered down to the millimetre. There is an apparently restrained palette here, however closer inspection reveals warmth and personality is brought to the interior with surface textures and careful detailing; a rough concrete finish is positioned in sharp contrast to the orderly timber baton ceiling.

In opposition to that of a traditional Church, this building aims to become a peaceful and tranquil reflection space instead of shrine to biblical passage, this is in essence what makes it such a welcoming and striking environment. As the world moves forward, an opportunity arises for the Church to also modernise: with this masterclass from Atelier Štěpán, we see exactly how this should be executed.

 

Related: Stores On Design // Take Me To Church.

 

 


[Images courtesy of Atelier Štěpán. Photography by BoysPlayNice.]

 

About The Author

Rachel Maude
Contributor

Rachel is originally from the north of the England where she studied and lived for the majority of her life. After qualifying as an Architect and working in London for a number of years, she made the move to Melbourne in the search of a new adventure. Her work to date has covered a range of sectors and scales, and although a lover of all things design, her passion and expertise lay in smaller scale residential projects and seeing them through to completion. An environmentalist at heart, she has a keen interest in sustainability and minimising mankind's impact on the planet. When not fulfilling her designing duties, if the sun is shining you will find Rachel outdoors - always eager to explore new places by foot or pedal power (whilst also topping up her tan!).

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