Thursday, March 31, 2011

Futuna Chapel, John Scott, 1961 Wellington, New Zealand - at two scales

Futuna Chapel by John Scott is considered one of the most significant twentieth century buildings in New Zealand and incorporates ideas from the wharenui (below, the traditional communal house of the Maori)--including a prominent load-bearing pole, visible rafters, eaves that slope sharply and end low to the ground, and a modest entrance--combining these features with Scott's characteristic strong geometries within a modernist idiom  The chapel was self-built by the Brothers of the Society of Mary, for whom it was designed as a spiritual retreat.

Sold to developers in 2000 and allowed to fall into disrepair, the building is now owned by the Friends of Futuna Charitable Trust, whose website has frustratingly small photos showing the sketches, models, and  interior of the church.  But who, for the chapel's 50th anniversary just a couple of weeks ago, created commemorative scale models in conjunction with the amazing 'personal factory' firm Ponoko.

What a special project for any church with distinctive architecture!  Note that scale models of 'whale' churches are unlikely to be any more interesting than the real thing.

Read more about John Scott's work, including his churches, at a very nice blog of his work:, and some more images of the futuna chapel at this flickr stream.

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