Responding to a dramatic growth in the foreign Catholic community in Suzuka, a new religious space is needed not only for worships but also social interactions. The Catholic Suzuka Church, presented by the Alphaville Architects, is an integration of multiple functions including a chapel, a community hall and residences for priests. Located in Suzuka, where the HONDA motor industry bases, the presented project is sitting on the cross junction of two major streets, with one being a newly built motorway and the remaining one being an ancient road connecting Tokyo and Osaka since Edo period.
The project features an expressive roof which wraps up all the functional spaces. It is shaped as multiple diagonal arches overlapping each other with gaps. This was inspired by the stunning mountain scape surrounding the city, and reminds citizens of the natural elegance.
To handle crowds on Sundays, the whole volume is lifted to maximize the car parking space underneath without shrinking the other functional areas. The roof is split into pieces every five meters – referring to the parking lot module – for skylights to introduce the southern natural light to the interiors. Connected by two gently inclined staircases, the pilotis and the entrance lobbies on the second floor define a plaza for social events and buffering from the heavily motorized city.
Referring to the “Nori’s figure/ground theory”, the lobby is designed as an extension of the city pathways, manipulating relationships among the “inside-out” spaces converging at the church that allow easy approaches.
With its lively gesture, this project surpasses precedents with enhanced accessibility, translating worships into daily-life philosophy and bridges mankind to the holy with falls of natural light.