This evocative field chapel in the German countryside pays homage to Bruder Klaus, the 15th-century patron saint of the local farmers—the latter of whom helped build the design by Swiss architect Zumthor. It’s noted for its novel method of construction: Twenty-four layers of concrete were poured on a wigwam frame of 112 tree trunks, which was then ignited, resulting in singed walls and a hollow cavity within.
The oculus in the roof allows rain and sunlight to infiltrate the space, creating different atmospheres depending on the weather and time of day. (On a sunlit day, the hole resembles the blaze of a star, an allusion to Bruder Klaus’s vision in the womb.)
“To me, buildings can have a beautiful silence that I associate with attributes such as composure, self-evidence, durability, presence, and integrity, and with warmth and sensuousness as well,” Zumthor has said. “A building that is being itself, being a building, not representing anything, just being.”