The brief on this project was to design a small chapel that would provide a beautiful setting for couples who want to tie the knot. It was not to be associated with any specific religion and was to have very strong relationship with the landscape especially the water body within the site. The required capacity was 150 people and the space would be used for live music and conferences as well.
The building is perfectly located at the banks of the attenuation dam. Water, whichever way it is looked at, usually adds to the beauty of settings used for such ceremonies. Apart from this, the location separates it from the existing Windmills Hotel allowing people to enjoy the landscape as they move between the two spaces. The architect grabbed this opportunity and used the landscape to connect these two.
The landscape is designed such that it is not just a transitional space between two points but also provides an experience to the people. It was integrated well into the design. Movement is from the entrance of the hotel through well patterned and textured footpaths and ends at the edge of the chapel. The landscape design responds to the natural form of land. Radiating swirls of planting follow the ceremonial path and focus surface runoff on the hillside. It is the floral arrangement of the wedding and is quite spectacular in Spring. It combines with the structure to connect landscape and building. Trees are placed to provide shade to the building and planted between the poles at the entrance become part of the architecture.
It has been described as the most magical place to get married in the Midlands; that the glass-encased Chapel is simply the most romantic setting for an idyllic country-style wedding.
Suspended over a picturesque lake, the architect-designed Chapel boasts a spell-binding combination of charm and grace that will add a deep sense of fulfilment to the celebration of your union.
From The Project Architects:
Ceremony and procession define the design. The concept uses gum-poles to define the space like tree trunks around a forest clearing. A false perspective is induced on the space tapering towards the front while the floor slopes gently downwards. These references to classic design and the remembered imagery of polished stone floor, vertical expression of structure, stained glass and heavy timber doors provide emotive impact. The design uses light as a powerful element. The light streams between the columns, closely spaced to reduce solar heat gain and focus the view forward.
The large south facing window makes the dam and landscape beyond the backdrop to the event. Coloured glass of the west elevation brings further drama and animation to the interior. The chapel is an exploration of gum-poles as a functional and emotive element. They are the visual surface of the wall alternating with the landscape beyond. They connect with expressive steel and timber trusses (which provide a complex detailed ceiling) via a steel ring beam that also forms the weather seal between roof and the light steel and glass curtain wall envelope.
The landscape is designed to grow into the architecture. In a few years the full impact of the design will be realized. The building will be a part of the grove of trees, which in turn will be established as an integral part of the landscape as a whole.
The design relies on natural materials assembled by a singular original building system, designed specifically for this building for its aesthetic. The design attempts to bring structure to ceremony, provide space and definition to ritual and enhance experience