Breede River Valley chapel wins international architecture award

Breede River Valley chapel wins international architecture award

Bosjes Kapel, designed by Coetzee Steyn, won the 2019 Architizer A+ Popular Choice in the religious buildings and memorials category.

THE iconic Bosjes Kapel on the Bosjes Estate in the Western Cape’s Breede River Valley has been acknowledged by the 2019 edition of Architizer’s premier A+Awards program, the world’s largest initiative of its kind for architecture and building products.

Designed by South African-born Coetzee Steyn of Steyn Studio, the Bosjes Kapel won the 2019 Architizer A+ Popular Choice in the religious buildings and memorials category, which was announced on July 9. It has also been named one of this year’s only five special honorees, which include renowned international practices Heatherwick Studio and Mecanoo.

The title of special honoree is awarded to key influencers and projects, chosen for their extraordinary contribution to the field of architecture.

The Architizer A+Awards promotes and celebrates the year’s best architecture and products. Co-hosted by the Wall Street Journal, its mission is to nurture the appreciation of meaningful design in the world and champion its potential for a positive impact on everyday life.

Inspired by the scriptures of Psalm 36:7, the chapel has a serene sculptural form that emulates the silhouette of the surrounding Slanghoek and Waaihoek mountain ranges, paying tribute to the Cape Dutch gables found in the rural landscapes of the Western Cape. Constructed from a slim concrete cast shell, the roof supports itself as each undulation dramatically falls to meet the ground. Surrounded by meditative gardens, the glass-walled chapel’s flowing white roof appears to float serenely in a reflection pond.

Inside, highly polished terrazzo reflects light internally. The undulating whitewashed ceiling casts an array of shadows which dance within the volume as light levels change throughout the day. The modest palette of materials creates a neutral background to the framed views of the vineyards and mountain beyond.

Steyn, who is based in London, says: “From my very first meeting with the client I knew something truly special was going to happen, and it did. It is a great honour to be included among some of the world’s best architecture; and, being rooted in the platteland myself, also very humbling, especially because of the support and recognition the Bosjes Kapel has received.”

Carlen Vorster of Bosjes notes the connection between the chapel’s intriguing physical structure and the space within. “The chapel’s totality speaks of tranquillity, peace and quiet – a meditative space no matter your spiritual affiliation. The gardens, like the chapel, and the rest of the farm welcome all.”

Bosjes Estate in Rawsonville is open to the public to view the sculpted gardens and chapel as well as to enjoy lunch at the Bosjes Kombuis between Wednesdays and Sundays. Other amenities include Die Skuur Gastehuis, a luxury guesthouse with five en suite bedrooms.