Chapel of Eternal Light
Funerary chapel for a small agrarian village
Ponta Garça, Azores
A funerary chapel for a small rural community in the south of St. Michael Island in the Azores, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The two-fold building of concrete and metal expands to the sky and light, allowing the honorable use and interiority required to pay the last homage to the dear ones parted of the community.
“Every point of view is the apex of an inverted pyramid, the base of which is indeterminable.” Book of Disquietude by Fernando Pessoa.
The community is built around a long road that runs parallel to the sea, which was the traditional means for islanders to defend themselves from the dangers of the sea, such as tempests, storms, and pirates.
The cemetery is located close off the main road, on the upper side, where new housing is being constructed. The Chapel connects the two levels, the cemetery and the one below, by projecting itself upwards, like a flower bending forward to the sun or bowing to the settlement, land, and ocean.
Concrete and metal combine to form the structure. It comprises two floors, with a tiny room and bathroom on the lower level and the chapel on the upper level. The first inverted pyramid is made of concrete, and the second is made of steel. In those four concrete faces are anchored metal beams that make up the chapel's support walls on the top floor, with covered and insulated panels painted silver on the inside and green Guatemala marble slabs on the outside, all supported by a steel structure with Facar tubes in between and clamped by the exterior with copper steel buttons.
The concrete foundation of the pyramid outside the metal components and support covers, as well as the upper part of bright blue glass above the Chapel, provide evidence of tectonic structural solution.