Wooden Chapel by John Pawson

Situated in Germany’s Bavarian Forest near the Swabian village of Unterliezheim, a Wooden Chapel enjoy a moment of quiet reflection.

Architects: John Pawson
Location: Unterliezheim, Germany
Photography: Felix Friedmann

The architect used 144 solid Douglas fir trunks for the building, which highlights the timber’s natural grain. Light filters through from a cross-shaped opening filled with yellow glass, as well as a set of narrow slits at the top of the cabin.

A small path leads to the chapel’s entrance, located at the transitional point between woodland and open ground. The architecture is framed as the simplest of gestures. From certain perspectives its mass appears as a pile of logs stacked up to dry; from others, the considered placement of the elements on a concrete plinth creates a more formal impression of a piece of sculpture emerging from the forest. The purposefully narrow entry maintains the sense of physical proximity encountered as one moves through the dense trees, adding visceral and visual theatre to the exhilarating experience of passing into an attenuated space over seven meters high and nearly nine meters long.

-John Pawson