Álvaro Siza Vieira : Eglise de Saint-Jacques de la Lande

The Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira combines modernism and spirituality in the development of the church of Saint-Jacques de la Lande, located south of Rennes (35). Sculptural monolith, the place of worship plays with light and volumes, reinterpreting the codes of Le Corbusier and the iconic chapel of St. Peter Firminy (42).

Inspired by the residential area of ​​the town of Saint-Jacques de la Lande and its great features sets, Álvaro Siza Vieira designs a religious building with modernist accents affirmed geometry and materiality. The building, rising to 12 meters high, is made of reinforced concrete formed of white panels and dialogue with the architecture of the district of Morinais whose buildings dating from the 1970 years are made of the same material.


Arranged on a square plane, four rectangular towers surround a cylindrical volume. Completing the picture, a cantilevered half-cylinder refers to the traditional semicircular apse, being here the only element indicating the function of the frame, outside the bell tower. Always for the sake of modesty and voluntary stripping, the entrance is signaled by a discreet canopy.

The ground floor is spread over two half-levels, the lower part being reserved for administrative and social areas while the highest is dedicated to the parish hall that can accommodate up to 126 faithful. Thanks to an exceptional geometrical arrangement, the light bounces and is reflected in the whole of this central space. An indirect and zenith lighting supporting the sacred aspect of such an immaculate interior, a mixture of white concrete and light marble. An almost sanitized character softened by the large presence of warm wooden furniture.

A building with monastic humility, which lets in the Light.

To learn more, visit the site of Álvaro Siza Vieira

Photographs: João Morgado

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