Monday, May 18, 2009

Luce Memorial Chapel, Taichung, Taiwan

The Luce Memorial Chapel is a Christian chapel on the campus of Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan.

The project was originally planned in April 1954 but put on hold until July 1960. Construction took place from September 1962 until November 1963. Construction costs were USD $125,000.

The chapel occupies a 12,000 square metre site on campus and is set on an irregular hexagonal base, providing 477 m² of gross floor area, including a 245 m² nave (500 seats), 81 m² chancel, and 44 m² robing rooms. The church itself is a curved, tent-like structure rising as a hyperbolic paraboloid to 19.2 m high and establishing a central focal landmark on the campus.

The chapel was executed in reinforced concrete with its form providing earthquake stability. Construction involved elaborate formwork by local craftsmen. Ribs reinforce the curved surfaces and thicken as they descend, preventing buckling while expressing structural forces. The exterior is covered by glazed diamond-shaped tiles, and on the interior, thicker diamond-shaped concrete coffers at the bottom gradually diminish in size as they near the top since stresses are concentrated near the ground.

Architect : I.M. Pei

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