© Tim Van de Velde

Bruder Klaus Kapelle by Peter Zumthor

Built above the village Mechernich, the Bruder Klaus Kapelle is a privately endowed Catholic chapel and now become the landmark in Germany natural landscape.

The chapel was designed in 2005 by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor for the family of farmers Trudel and Hermann-Josef Scheidtweile, who wanted to honor their patron saint, Bruder Klaus of the 15th century. It was consecrated on 2007 by the Bishop of Cologne Heiner Koch.

Architects: Peter Zumthor
Location: Mechernich, Germany
Photography: Tim Van De Velde

This boxy building only one small triangle door, and the inside is very somber with no plumbing, bathrooms, running water, electricity, the only way to get there is on foot for the last kilometres……
This process of pilgrimage and reflective feelings make it one of the most striking pieces of religious architecture to date.

© Tim Van de Velde
© Tim Van de Velde

Inspiration from architect:

…beginning with a wigwam made of 112 tree trunks. Upon completion of the frame, layers of concrete were poured and rammed atop the existing surface, each around 50cm thick. When the concrete of all 24 layers had set, the wooden frame was set on fire, leaving behind a hollowed blackened cavity and charred walls.

The unique roofing surface of the interior is balanced by a floor of frozen molten lead. This controls the weather of the chapel, as ran and sunlight both penetrate the opening and create an ambience or experience very specific to the time of day and year.

© Tim Van de Velde