Vatican Chapel, Pavilion of the Holy See

Structural Designer

Foster + Partners

Client Name

The Vatican represented by Francesco Dal Co


Venice, Italy

Tecno S.p.A.

Foster + Partners

MAP Studio - Architect of record
TecnoBrevetti Team Engineering - Engineer of record


One of ten chapels designed for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018.

The Chapel was conceived as three symbolic crosses set into the landscape and used as supports for a minimal enclosure.  


Judge's comment:

The elegance of the outcome enabled by careful engineering detailing was as impressive to the judges as the design evolution between architect and engineer to arrive at the final outcome. 

For example, the initial enclosure conceived as a fabric envelope was replaced because structural constraints led corners to be cumbersome.

The timber slat alternative is only as slender and light as desired by de-coupling movement of the structure through ball and socket base joints, sliding head fixings and pairing the slender slats which are only 40mm x 70mm in cross section and yet typically 6.3m long.     

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