"Body, spirit, and soul"
This chapel, situated at state hospital Graz hosted by Protestant Church, serves patients, medical workers, and visitors as prayer and retreat room. Spread on only 35 square meters with double-height ceiling and one-sided room-high glass facade, the sanctuary follows fundamental religious scenography with its low entry area, revealing an 8-meter-tall space volume. Aiming to create a comforting, warm and relaxing atmosphere for retreat, tranquility and recreation in demanding hospital environment, the interior combines several biophilic design strategies – natural light, materials, and patterns. Alongside the existing walls a perforated screen unwinds spirally – an allegory of human life cycle. Simultaneously concealing functions and facilities like a sacristy, multimedia equipment, as well as building technology. The cut-out wall panels allow natural and artificial light to filter into space, conveying time and motion and adding expressiveness paired with serenity and silence. The pattern enveloping the chapel was developed in a transdisciplinary collaboration with product design studio 13&9 Design and Prof. Richard Taylor (University of Oregon / Fractals Research). Fractals are the building block of many of nature’s patterns and have been scientifically proven to reduce stress, improve well-being and expedite healing. Taylor´s studies show human´s positive psychological, physiological, and neurological response to fractal patterns, as those trigger a natural relaxation effect with their visual complexity and harmonic repetition - people’s stress levels reduce by 60% when looking at fractals. To further emphasize the interplay of spiral, light and fractal pattern, the material range is kept minimal by adding solely a wooden ceiling, flooring, benches, and altar. The modular, flexible furniture allows several settings for different spatial use, contributing to the warm tonality with its earthy materiality. With focus on health and well-being this chapel creates an inspiring and relaxing environment, seeking to enhance hope and tranquility in a sever location like this surgery clinic.
Martin Lesjak, Jörg Kindermann, Lisa Nett