The Seashore Chapel, designed by Vector Architects, plays with light and texture to create a religious setting.

Vector Architects’ Seashore Chapel seems to have washed out on the shore at Beidaihe, Qinhuangdao, Hebei, in China. Elevated above the ground on concrete pillars, the building creates a covered outdoor space underneath the building where people can relax on the beach, but as the tide comes in, water laps around and underneath the structure, almost teasing it to float back into the sea.

This interesting 240m concrete chapel with its steep roof pitch provides a religious place of worship close to nature, with a strong relationship between the ocean and the space. Coated in white stucco, it has a textured finish that speaks to the senses.

Approached from inland, a 600mm wide gap in the middle of the staircase provides visitors with a glimpse of the ocean behind the building. Inside, a large, horizontal window overlooks the water. Being 2,7m high, it also lets ample light into the chapel.

Lighting is carefully controlled inside the 10m tall interior space with a few narrow gaps between the walls allowing natural light to filter through. A roof-light channel, created by a 300mm gap between the bended wall on the north and the pitched roof, allows more natural light streaming into the space. At times when the solar altitude is almost perpendicular, light projects directly onto the northern wall, generating a vivid lighting effect that emphasises the texture of the stucco wall.

In order to maintain the uniform and continuous exterior appearance, all the windows are hidden in the gaps between the main envelope and several pieces of paralleled sliding-out walls.

Acknowledgement is given to Dezeen, Arch Daily and Vector Architects for the information and photos used in this article.

Caption: The concrete Seashore Chapel on the beach at Beidaihe in China is coated in white stucco.

Credit for all the photos:
©Chen Hao