The Sanctuary | Suzhou Chapel

The Sanctuary | Suzhou Chapel

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The chapel is a feature building within the larger Village zone. As such, it occupies a prime location visible from the main road and along the waterfront. Its architectural language is derived from similar elements found elsewhere in the project, such as the undulating brick walls and floating white volume—but they are here, taken to another level of articulation.

The brick walls begin to break down to an even more refined scale, where different heights of walls interweave with each other to create a choreographed landscape journey leading into the building itself.

The white volume also receives special treatment, here, it is composed of two layers. The inner layer is a simple box punctuated on all sides with scattered windows, while the outer layer is a folded and perforated metal skin, a “veil” which alternatively hides and reveals. In the daytime, the white box emerges shimmering gently in the sunlight, subtly exposing its contents. In the night, the white box becomes a jewel-like beacon in the project, its various windows emitting a soft glow in all directions.

Inside the building, visitors continue on their guided journey through the pre-function area and then into the main chapel space, which features a light-filled 12m high space. There is a seamless integration with the surrounding nature as picture windows frame various man-made and natural landscapes.

A mezzanine level hovers overhead to accommodate extra guests, and includes a catwalk encircling the space, allowing 360 degrees of viewing angles. The mezzanine is integrated into a wood louvered cage element which wraps around the whole upper part of the room. A grid of glowing bulb lights and delicate bronze details give a touch of opulence to the otherwise quietly monastic spaces. Custom wood furniture and crafted wood details compliment the simple material palette of gray brick, terrazzo, and concrete.

Another feature of the chapel building is a separate staircase alongside the main space, which allows visitors to gain access to the rooftop for unrivalled views across the scenic lake. Various openings along this stair ascent give unexpected views both internally and externally.

Gross Area
700 m²


Completion Date
September 2018

199 Yangchenghuan Road, Yangcheng Lake, Suzhou, Jiangsu

FRAME Awards 2018, by FRAME Magazine, Netherlands Suzhou Chapel, SOCIETAL AWARDS: Social Award, Nominee
AIT-Award 2018, by AIT Magazine, Germany Suzhou Chapel, Public Building, Special Mention
2018 RIBA International Prize, by Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), London, UK Suzhou Chapel, RIBA International List 2018
ArchDaily's Building of the Year Awards 2018Suzhou Chapel, Religious Architecture Category: Nominee
WAN Awards 2018, by World Architecture, UKSuzhou Chapel, Civic Buildings Sector, Finalist
WIN Awards 2017, by World Interiors, UK Suzhou Chapel, Interior Projects - Public Sector, Winner
archilovers Best Project 2017, by archilovers website Suzhou Chapel
Best of Year Awards 2017, by Interior Design Magazine, New York, USA Suzhou Chapel, Government/Institutional Category, Winner
A&D Trophy Awards 2017, by Perspective Limited, Hong Kong, China Suzhou Chapel, Architecture, Best of the Best
A&D Trophy Awards 2017, by Perspective Limited, Hong Kong, China Suzhou Chapel, Best Institutional/Public Space Category in Architecture, Best of Category
Asia Pacific Interior Design Awards 2017, by Hong Kong Interior Design Association, Hong Kong, China Suzhou Chapel, Judge's Choice
Asia Pacific Interior Design Awards 2017, by Hong Kong Interior Design Association, Hong Kong, China Suzhou Chapel, Public Space Category, Gold
World Architecture Festival 2017, Berlin, GermanySuzhou Chapel, Civic and Community - Completed Building Category, Highly Commended
Blueprint Awards 2017, by Blueprint Magazine, London, UK Suzhou Chapel, Best Public-use Project - with Private Funding Category, Highly Commended
The American Architecture Prize - AAP Suzhou Chapel, Architectural Design - Cultural Architecture Category, Winner
AZ Awards 2017, by AZURE Magazine, Canada Suzhou Chapel, Architecture - Commercial and Institutional Buildings category, Finalist
2017 AD100 Best Public Architecture in China, by Architectural Digest Magazine China Suzhou Chapel
The Plan Award 2017, THE PLAN MagazineSuzhou Chapel, Public Space Category, Honorable Mention
Architizer A+ Awards 2017, Architizer WebsiteSuzhou Chapel, Cultural-Religious Buildings & Memorials Category, Special Mention