© Alain Hatat

WALCOURT CHAPEL

RESTORATION AND REINTERPRETATION OF A PLACE OF SILENCE

© Alain Hatat

The chapel was built in 1782 on the site of an initial structure dating from the 16th century, of which no trace remains. Although the name of the architect is unknown, the Walcourt Chapel is part of the quest for character and the sublime which characterises the architecture of the end of the Enlightenment.

The apparent simplicity of its centered layout inscribed in a square is reinforced by the rigorous composition of its facades. The austere beauty of the Givet-stone cladding is highlighted by a massive entablature. The protruding door frames (en saillie) on the cladding are alone in providing a subtle interplay of shadows. Within, a brick cladding forms a second layer.

© Alain Hatat

The Walcourt Chapel was abandoned, in ruin. We were thus able to create a space whose primary utility was to be "useless", a place of silence and light.

© Alain Hatat
© Alain Hatat

After an initial analysis phase based on relatively few elements likely to assist in the restoration project, we chose to restore the volume and interior space without masking the reality of a contemporary intervention.

The choice of a composite frame "à la Philibert Delorme", treated with modern materials (veener and stainless-steel keys) is driven by the survey carried out at the beginning of the 20th century by Henri Deneux on a similar structure – contemporary with the Walcourt Chapel – located in the northern cemetery of Reims.

Within, the bareness of the brick walls recalls its status as a ruin and confers to the space an "ancient" aesthetic. The contemporary stained-glass windows were imagined as DNA markers meant to evoke the parallel between genetic transmission and that of built heritage.

© Alain Hatat
Location
Givet
Project type
Restoration
Program
Worship
Project owner
DRAC Champagne-
Ardenne/City of Givet
Team
Chatillon Architects
Budget
€ 850,000 excl. VAT
Timeline
2006 – 2007