Architects: Students of the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, led by Professor Frank Flury
Local architect: Ecker Architekten
Location: Boedigheim, Germany
Client: Protestant Church of Bödigheim
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Robert Piotrowski, Dea Ecker, Klaus Hilger & John Ruffalo, Brigida Gonzalez
Website: Flurkapelle Buchen/Bödigheim
The Field Chapel is a project designed and executed by the students of an Advanced De-sign/Build Studio at the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture in Chicago for a ecumenical church co-operative in Boedigheim, Germany. Led by Professor Frank Flury, the project was assisted on a pro bono basis by the firm of Ecker Architekten (Buchen, Germany) with the craftsmen, volunteer workers and townspeople of the Odenwald/Bauland, a rural region in northern Baden-Württemberg.
The ecumenical chapel stands on a hill between the villages of Boedigheim, Seckach and Großeicholzheim.
The structure is visible from afar but can only reached by foot or by bicycle via a steep country lane. The students developed outdoor facilities and space as a logical consequence of interaction: when arriving at the site, a narrow footpath leads between an existing hedge and the blank tower facade to a small gravel forecourt, which is bounded on 2 sides with massive benches made of local limestone. This forecourt represents the secular realm. A brick platform rises from this forecourt, upon which visitors enter a closed patio and ultimately the sanctuary. This platform traverses the profane to the divine.
The wood comes from the municipal forests in Buchen and in Boedigheim and was dried and cut at the sawmill less than 2 km from the chapel site. The high sap content of Larch allowed a construction without any handling or weatherproofing of the wood surfaces. This surface will eventually weather to a silver-grey partina. Bricks used in paving the tower platform were left over from a nearby building site and donated to the project. The gravel used for the forecourt is dredged from the Main River, and Limestone blocks are quarried within walking distance from the chapel. All the components were either fabricated by the students in the carpenters’ shop or made by local craftsmen. With the exception of the steel used to in the fastening screws and column anchors, all materials come from locations within 40 km from the building site.