Dedicated to the victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the Belarusian Memorial Chapel was built for the Belarusian diaspora population in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Notably the first wooden church to be built in London after the Great London Fire in 1666, the structure pay homage to Belarus’ Wooden Church Heritage.
Designed by Spheron Architects, an up-and-coming architecture practice based in London, the chapel, constructed out of softwood, is a tasteful mix of traditional and contemporary, and, like many in Belarus, is a gentle presence.
The chapel’s domed spire and timber shingle roof can be commonly found in hundreds of traditional churches in Belarus, designed to offer members of London’s Belarusian community comfort and familiarity, though a contemporary additions – such as the undulating timber frill on the flanking walls to lend a sense of life to the exterior. Natural light is allowed to enter through hidden clerestory windows along the length of the chapel and the windows at the front elevation, and at night, soft light from the interior gives the church a gentle glow.
Its principle structural frame consists of Douglas fir filled with cross laminated timber (CLT) made of pine. The floor, doors, and handles are also built of Douglas fir. Moreover, the entirety of the interior is made up of natural unfinished wood, save the entrance doors and floor boards – which were finished with clear lacquer.
Canadian cedar shingles clad the roof and cupola, which houses a bell. The dome itself is also boasts a timber frame structure though it is clad in lead.
Architects: Spheron Architects
Location: Woodside Park Station, London, United Kingdom
Year of completion: 2016
Photo credits: Hélène Binet, Ioana Marinescu, and Joakim Borén